When The Great British Bake Off revealed in September that it would be leaving its home on the BBC, fans were devastated to learn that Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc would not be following the show to Channel 4. Bake Off’s longtime hosts, with their easy rapport and fondness for puns, were beloved and more often than not set the tone for the show as a whole, making their shoes especially daunting to fill. But on Thursday, after months of speculation, we finally learned who their replacements will be, with Channel 4 announcing that Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig have been chosen as presenters for the show next season.
Toksvig is the warm, witty host of quiz show QI and a natural fit for Bake Off. At the very least, she will maintain the tradition of having at least one very funny lesbian on the set at all times. And while she’s a British citizen, Toksvig was born in Denmark, which should make for some prime wordplay opportunities when the contestants are making danishes.
Whereas Toksvig’s casting is in keeping Bake Off’s pre-existing vibe, Fielding is a genuine surprise, not least because he’ll be appearing without his comedy partner Julian Barratt; the pair founded the troupe the Mighty Boosh and starred in the surreal cult comedy series of the same name. I’m not sure how much experience Fielding has with cakes, but let me tell you—the man can name a lot of different kinds of soup.
How Fielding’s oddball sense of humor will work on a show like Bake Off remains to be seen, but Toksvig, at least, thinks the partnership is promising. In a statement, she said that Fielding “is one of the nicest guys in show business. The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh.” The only downside, she noted is that her co-star, “has much better dress sense than I do,” referring to Fielding’s famously outlandish, androgynous sense of style.
Original Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry also declined to make the switch to Channel 4 out of loyalty to the BBC, leaving a vacancy at the judges’ table that will be filled by Prue Leith. Leith will join Paul Hollywood, the only one of the original four to stick with the show—or to jump ship to Channel 4, depending on your point of view.
The new season of Bake Off will air in the fall.