Why Does ‘The Great British Baking Show’ Take Place in a Tent?

Unlike many culinary competition shows — which take place in industrialized facilities with state of the art equipment and air conditioning — The Great British Baking Show goes down in a tent. 

Aside from forcing those competing to take high temperatures into account when preparing their sweet and savory surprises, is there a reason the show is filmed inside a tent? 

The Great British Baking Show
The Great British Baking Show | Mark Bourdillon/ABC via Getty Images

The executive producer was going for a particular vibe, leading to the tent 

When working to bring The Great British Baking Show to life, Executive Producer Anne Beattie grew fixated on the show’s atmosphere. Beattie yearned to establish a serene, “village fete” vibe, as Mashed.com notes. First off, the tents are placed in the well-known Welford Park in Berkshire, which coincided with Beattie’s desire to create a rural feel. 

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As for the “village fete” description, a fete is a British term used to describe a public gathering, customarily held outside or inside tents. Festival games, entertainment, and multiple food options are typical. As is the case with ordinary fetes, the tents on the show create a festival-like feel; and though the stakes are high and anxiety is running rampant, the show manages to retain a degree of levity, with a couple of funny judges and countryside locale.

Not to mention, the carnival aspect has heightened with time. For those who have been watching The Great British Baking Show since the early days, the finale has grown to imitate a carnival with each passing year. Initially, families gathered outside and waited to eat the finalists’ dishes. Yet, today, there are rides and activities galore for attendees to partake in before the winner is announced. 

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The tent raises the stakes on ‘The Great British Baking Show,’ and keeps the feel consistent as locations change

While the choice to film in a tent adds to the festival vibe, it also augments the competition. As Distractify notes, contestants have explained that nothing can prepare you for competing inside the tent. 

The heat often gets the best of the contestants, and sometimes gets the best of their bakes. If they don’t regulate their own internal temperature and make sure to refrigerate certain foods, they’re bound to find themselves in the bottom. And, with a lack of fridge space and the unpredictability of the weather, tent cooking makes The Great British Baking Show one of the most challenging of all the amateur culinary competitions. 

The tent also adds to the show’s consistency, for Distractify notes that the show is not always filmed in the exact same space. So, while the location may look a bit different between seasons, the tent helps to maintain a synonymous image across seasons despite changes to the setting.