Matt Lucas lays out 'gruelling' changes to Bake Off filming amid pandemic

Matt Lucas has shared how the changes to filming on the new series of The Great British Bake Off during the ongoing pandemic were tough on the contestants.

Filming on new episodes pressed ahead this summer with measures put in place to keep everyone safe, and the new series will start on September 22.

Contestants, crew and presenters were in a ‘bubble’ together throughout, all staying in the same hotel.

At times it was ‘gruelling’ for the bakers as they would have to spend their days off practicing their showstoppers.

Appearing on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Monday, Matt explained: ‘I have had the best, best time.

‘Love Productions hired a hotel and we had a skeleton staff of 25, and we had a Covid medic team and special cleaners and everyone lived in this hotel and the tent was in the grounds. So you could leave your room and be in makeup in 90 seconds so I slept more than I usually do when filming.

‘It was tough for the bakers – we had two days on and two days off, and on the days off the bakers were in practice kitchen, so it was gruelling for them.’

But they found ways to entertain themselves throughout with Matt, and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood putting on events for everyone.

‘We did things in the evening,’ Matt went on.

‘I hosted bingo one night, Pru did flower arranging, and Paul made pizzas, it was like a holiday camp.’

The Little Britain star is replacing Sandi Toksvig, who stepped down in January, and will present alongside Noel Fielding.

‘We have bakers of all ages in the tent and some great characters,’ he said.

‘I would get very invested. Whenever one of the bakers went home I’d have to go to my room and have a word with myself because I’d get really upset.’

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays from 12.30pm on Channel 4.

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