What treats and tribulations will season 6 produce? Even though it's due to air Wednesday 5 August, we already have some ideas …
Pull on your stretchiest waistband, grab your best piping bag and cancel all Wednesday night plans for the next 10 weeks – the Bake Off is back, baby!
It's the most hotly – and hungrily – anticipated television event of the year, and we can't wait to see what's going to happen in that marquee of dreams. Will there be tears in the trifle? Romance among the rough puff? For now, we can only guess … but we'd put good money on a few of these predictions coming true.
There will be a new 'something-gate'
And we don’t mean the kind for keeping countryside cattle away from your biscuits. We mean a scone scandal. Or a marzipan meltdown. We mean a baking balls-up so dramatic that the whole country grinds to a halt and David Cameron is forced to issue a statement.
Previous years have gifted us 'floorgate', 'custardgate' and of course, 'bingate' (or ‘the bincident’, if you prefer). This year, the nation waits with bated breath to see how the participants will manage to better the fateful moment that Iain’s baked Alaska went binwards and he stormed off into the trees. Full-blown sabotage? Poisoned fondant? An actual murder? We can’t wait.
There will be a bake nobody has ever, ever heard of. Ever
Remember last year’s pea-green Swedish princess pleasuredome whatsit? Or the year before’s ‘Charlotte royale’, which turned out to be cut-up Swiss roll covered in a kind of edible glue? If there’s one thing we’ve come to expect from the Bake Off, it’s technical challenges that have almost certainly been made-up in the back of a taxi on the way to filming.
“We’ll call it a ‘Sharon supreme!’" you can imagine Mary saying. “Yes," Paul adds. “And it will be made from … er, WAFER ICE-CREAM CONES. And Angel Delight!”
Good luck, bakers. Google can’t help you now.
Mary Berry will score serious style points
Ever since that floral bomber jacket earned her a place in fashion’s hall of fame, our beloved Ms Berry has gone from strength to strength in the wardrobe stakes.
This season, we predict she’ll pull out all the stops in something that manages to be bright, on-trend, jolly, warm and also somehow woven from delicately-spun strands of caramel. Then we’ll just wait for the Cath Kidston copies to roll in.
No-sugar? No chance
While everyone else continues to get themselves in a tizz over the evils of processed sweet stuff, we can pretty much guarantee that the Bake Off tent will be a paleo-free zone. There will be icing on top of icing, on top of biscuits, on top of meringue, on top of enough syrupy sponge pudding to smother the quiet cries of the British Dental Association.
Leave your agave at the door, there’s no sugar-shaming here.
There will be a wacky one
In the Bake Off, as in life, someone always has to be a renegade. And as sure as eggs is eggs, we know that there’ll be at least one contestant with a wardrobe of loud jumpers and a brain full of maverick plans to ice the whole Bayeux Tapestry onto a shortbread finger, or painstakingly carve every Marvel superhero out of Smarties.
They definitely won’t win, but we’ll all be grateful for the entertainment – particularly the bit where they have to explain to Paul and Mary why their lemon drizzle cake has Lucozade in it.
There will be a smug one
You know it’s not their fault that they’re brilliant – it is a competition, after all – but there will always be that one contestant who never puts a piping bag wrong and manages to be really annoying in the process.
And as the standard of baking prowess has increased dramatically since the lumpen sponge cakes of series one, we reckon this year’s Smugface Von Smuggerson will be even more flawless than those who went before them. They’ll bring flour they’ve milled themselves, and raw sugar cane grown in their airing cupboard. They will probably practise for 100 hours straight one week, fall asleep with their face in a trifle and still be star baker.
There will be macarons so small only ants can see them
First came macarons, then came tiny macarons as decorations on top of cakes, and now we predict that this year, the macarons will become so mini that they’re only really useful at a Sylvanian Families tea party.
“What skill!” Mary will sigh, over her microscope. “You’ve made a mess of that one,” Paul will say, prodding a tiny pink speck on the table.
Mel and Sue will make us blush
Somehow, between all the soggy bottoms, slack custard and woefully underfilled buns, GBBO has become the rudest telly that you’re still allowed to watch with your Granny in the room.
Like Carry On stars for the modern age, Mel and Sue (or to give her her full name, ‘Suephemism Perkins’) balance out all that sweetness with a nice dollop of sauce – and we predict that this year there will be at least three comments so nudge-nudge-wink-wink that they’ll cause us to spit out our cuppa or choke on a bite of brownie. At least three. Maybe four.