The Great British Bake Off contestants share their excitement about the launch show

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The Great British Bake Off will return on Wednesday evening with twelve new amateur bakers hoping to earn the approval of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

While Mary, 81, has said that the group were "slower to bond this year than they were in the past," the contestants seem to have become close friends by the end of filming.

Bake Off contestants 2016
Bake Off contestants 2016 (BBC)

As they wait for the show to air, the bakers have been spending time together as well as swapping tips and compliments on social media.

Benjamina Ebuehi, a 23-year-old teaching assistant, posted a photograph where she was joined by her co-stars including financial services employee Selasi Gbormittah and student support worker Rav Bansal.

Former primary school head teacher Jane Beedle shared an image of her with Candice Brown, Louise Williams and Val Stones.

Looking forward to the show's launch, Tom Gilliford, 26, wrote on Twitter:

He also thanked his co-star Michael Georgiou, 20, for his advice about muffins, while aerospace engineer Andrew Smyth complimented Rav on his salted caramel macarons.

Entering the Bake Off tent was particularly nerve-wracking for the bakers because of last year's winner, Nadiya Hussain, who gained a huge public following.

"Nadiya went to a whole new level, and because of that I think it put the pressure on them more, and I think we felt that in the tents as well," Paul said.

"But actually, they came out tops. They started quite nervously but once they settled down they got into it. Then the baking started to flow and the standard got really really good."

Mary Berry, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Paul Hollywood
Mary Berry, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Paul Hollywood (BBC)

The Great British Bake Off launches on August 24 on BBC One at 8pm.