A new season of the beloved baking contest show, The Great British Baking Show has just debuted on Netflix. 12 brand new contestants will be put through the paces by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Luckily, hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas will be there for some stress relief and comedic fanfare.
Fans who have been watching the series since the beginning will recognize that iconic white tent. Now Hollywood and Leith are revealing why it’s the only setting that makes sense for the show.
Why is ‘The Great British Baking Show’ filmed in a tent?
Since the beginning of the series, even amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when the contestants, hosts, judges, and crew had quarantine together, The Great British Baking Show has been filming in a tent. Since the tent is typically pitched at Welford Park in Berkshire and the show is usually filmed in the summer, it’s not the greatest place for baking.
In fact, we’ve seen contestants’ bakes descend into chaos from rain, heat, and even cold. However, there is a reason why the big white tent has been chosen as the backdrop for the show. Executive producer Anne Beattie came up with the idea for the white tent when she was creating the show. Beattie wanted to make sure the show had a particular aesthetic. According to Mashed, she was drawn toward a “village fete” theme.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith explained why the show has to take place in a tent
Since the tent has very little ventilation, contestants have complained about it over the years. Even viewers at home have questioned the setting. However, Hollywood and Leith are defending the tent until the end. “I mean, we’re British. We like a challenge,” Hollywood told The Wrap. “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 agreed that moving the show outside of the tent would be far too boring. “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,” she added. “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.”
‘The Great British Baking Show’ contestants revealed what they hate most about filming
Though there are certainly gripes about the tent, for some of the contestants, the setting is the least of their worries. As we know, a ton of work and time goes into first getting on the show and then making it through the various weeks.
The days are super long, the contestants are subjected to internet trolling and they even have to wear the same clothes for multiple days for filming continuity purposes. However, season 8’s Tom Hetherington says the worst part is lying to family and friends.
Contestants are not allowed to tell anyone they are on the show. “I just had to go to work and pretend I was A-OK,” Hetherington told Insider. “Then Friday, I would get on a plane and do it all over again. It was one of the most exhausting periods of my life.”