“The Great British Baking Show” debuts its ninth collection on Netflix Friday. Ahead of the return of the U.K. competition series that features amateur bakers whipping up masterpieces — or epic fails — TheWrap spoke with “GBBS” judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith about why the show must take place inside a tent, despite how many challenges that factor poses to contestants just trying to nail a recipe.
“It’s not! It’s not horrible! We’re in a tent!” Hollywood replied when we told him it looks pretty horrible sometimes. “I mean, we’re British. We like a challenge. And I think ultimately, it tends to take you back to nature. If you’re camping, you’re in nature, aren’t you? You’re surrounded with beautiful scenery and you’ve got gorgeous views, you’re in the middle of a woods. You don’t want to be stuck in a brick house where it gets too hot. I mean, actually, the tent is a beautiful place to be aesthetically. It’s beautiful.”
Leith added: “I know everybody says, ‘But why do it in a tent when it gets so hot and gets so cold?’ But if we took it out of a tent and put it into a boring great hall, I don’t think it would have the audience it does. I think people love the fact that it’s in a tent and the very fact that it is a challenge. And the wasps come in and the rain mucks us and it gets freezing cold. What television producers like is they like a bit of jeopardy. The reason they like it is because the audience likes it. So I think it would be a great mistake to give up the tent.”
As “GBBS” fans already know, the show rolls out weekly both in the U.K. (where it debuts Tuesday on Channel 4 and is known as “The Great British Bake Off”) and on Netflix here in the U.S., meaning you’ll only get one helping this week. So Hollywood and Leith teased for us what’s to come in the weeks ahead on Collection 9.
“Well, I think the one I like most was German Week,” Leith said. “They had a German Week. And, you know, Germany is very famous for its pastries and its cake. We did get some really good bakes and it was great fun, if you ask me.”
For Hollywood, the favorite was once again Bread Week: “I always like that challenge in Bread Weeks; it’s always difficult. They all rose to the occasion.”
And in a twist, Leith said one week in particular surprised Hollywood by how much he liked it. “We had a sort of ‘Free-From Week,’ which meant the challenges were either, gluten-free, dairy-free or something else. And Paul was quite sort of skeptical about this at first; he didn’t think he was going to like them. But you were surprised, weren’t you, Paul, how good they were?
Hollywood confirmed: “I was, yeah!”
“The Great British Baking Show” premieres its first episode of Collection 9 Friday on Netflix.