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Bake Off through the years
  • Paul Hollywood, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn and Mary Berry ( l to r) at the opening of the BBC Good Food Show London at the London Olympia exhibition centre, London.
  • Mel and Sue hosted 'The Great British Bake Off' on BBC for seven series. (BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)
  • Claire Spreadbury from The Press Association takes part in a 'Bake Off' at the home of Richard Burr who took part in the BBC show 'The Great British Bake Off' in 2014.
  • Jane Beedle, Candice Brown (Winner) and Andrew Smyth attend a book signing at Waterstones Piccadilly, London. Picture date: Thursday October 27, 2016. Photo credit should read: Alan D West/ EMPICS Entertainment.
  • Winner of the Great British Bake Off 2016 Candice Brown poses for photographers upon arrival to the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Sunday, May 14, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II cuts into a birthday cake baked by Nadiya Hussain, left, winner of the Great British Bake Off, during celebrations of her 90th birthday in Windsor, England, Thursday April 21, 2016. (John Stillwell/Pool via AP)
  • "The Great British Bake Off" TV show winner Nadiya Hussain poses for photographers in London, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Nadiya Hussain was crowned winner of the contest Wednesday on a program watched by 13.4 million people, one in five of the British population and the biggest TV audience of the year. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Great British Bake Off finalists (left to right) Ian Cumming, Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray before signing copies of the Great British Bake Off book at Waterstones Piccadilly, London.
  • LEEDS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Kim-Joy Hewlett gives a Superhero Biscuit Decorating class as part of Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival at Lighthouse School on November 05, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Andrew Benge/Redferns)
  • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Alice Fevronia duing the 2019 Great British Bake Off Finalists photocall at Waterstones Piccadilly on October 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
  • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: David Atherton during the 2019 Great British Bake Off Finalists photocall at Waterstones Piccadilly on October 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
  • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Steph Blackwell, David Atherton and Alice Fevronia during the 2019 Great British Bake Off Finalists photocall at Waterstones Piccadilly on October 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
  • File photo dated 13/03/18 of The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, who had admitted to a "slight feeling of panic" at turning 80.
  • File photo dated 23/03/19 showing presenter Sandi Toksvig who has said she will be leaving the Great British Bake Off to focus on other work projects.
  • 2018 Great British Bake Off finalist Rahul signs copies of The Great British Bake Off on November 1, 2018.
  • 2018 Great British Bake Off finalist, (From Left to Right) Ruby, Rahul and Kim-Joy sign copies of The Great British Bake Off on November 1, 2018.
  • LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Winner of the Best Challenge Show Award, Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bake Off poses with Caitlyn Jenner and the cast and crew in the winners room attends the National Television Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on January 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
  • 2018 Great British Bake Off finalist, Ruby signs copies of The Great British Bake Off on November 1, 2018.
  • 2018 Great British Bake Off finalist, Kim-Joy signs copies of The Great British Bake Off on November 1, 2018.
  • Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown in store at Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden, London, to launch her range of 'Tot Cross Buns' celebrating NOW TV's Kids Pass.
  • The Great British Bake-Off presenter Noel Fielding leaving Channel 4 studios in central London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
  • Tonight, as he makes his debut as co-host of Channel 4’s relaunched The Great British Bake Off, Noel Fielding will complete one of the more unexpected career transitions in recent television history. Displaying what early reviewers have dubbed a winning combination of Tigger-like enthusiasm and offbeat humour, Fielding looks likely to prove a hit with the baking show’s audience. But amid the bunting, bonhomie, buns and puns of the twee family-friendly show, it will be easy to forget just how radical Fielding’s move to the show is. A mere decade ago, the 44-year-old was the patron saint of indie kook culture, a fixture of London's party scene and half of one of comedy’s most off-beat and surreal duos, The Mighty Boosh. In 2005, the NME voted Fielding fourth in the If Only They Rocked non-musician section of its Cool List (Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David won). The last time we heard from him, a few years ago, Fielding was making a solo comedy show so outre that it featured characters including Roy Circles, a chocolate finger with shellshock, and a man made out of melted Jelly Tots named Secret Peter. With a CV like this, Fielding makes his predecessors Mel and Sue look as bland as breadsticks. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, who created and starred in The Mighty Boosh In the mid-Noughties, a week didn’t pass when Fielding wasn’t papped in bacchanalian Camden watering hole The Hawley Arms with Amy Winehouse or out with his close friend Courtney Love. He had earned his place in this firmament. The Mighty Boosh, in which Fielding performed alongside Julian Barratt, were cult heroes. The duo won the Best Newcomer Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1998 and their show ran for years on the BBC, first on radio then on TV. The show, which ended in 2007, followed the exploits of struggling musicians Vince Noir (Fielding) and Howard Moon (Barratt). In it, Fielding played a raft of other characters too: The Hitcher, an East End hitch-hiker with a Polo mint for an eye, Old Gregg, a hermaphrodite merman obsessed with Baileys Irish Cream, and Tony Harrison, a small pink head with tentacles. He also appeared in cult comedies Nathan Barley and the IT Crowd. But Fielding also operated beyond traditional comedy boundaries. As well as appearing in music videos for Kate Bush, Mint Royale, Razorlight and Kasabian, he was an artist and dabbled in music himself, DJing and forming the band Loose Tapestries with Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno. The creative ecosystem that he and Barratt built around themselves reached an apotheosis when The Mighty Boosh arranged their own festival at Hop Farm in 2008. In front of thousands, Fielding and Barratt headlined a bill that included Gary Numan, The Kills and The Charlatans. Fielding summed up his life – and how much he was enjoying it – in an interview with The Observer in 2007: “I go to lots of gigs, hang out with bands, party hard. I don’t think it’s possible to have a better time than I’ve had this year. It’s like my birthday every night. I DJ with seven girls, I hang around the Hawley Arms with Amy Winehouse and Russell Brand,” he enthused. But all parties come to an end eventually. You can’t stay cool or young for ever. A few years ago Fielding received a double blow. Channel 4 failed to recommission his Luxury Comedy solo show after its second series in 2014. And in 2015 the BBC axed music panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, in which he was a team captain, after 18 years. Noel Fielding performing in 2005 Clearly at a crossroads after the two doses of bad news, Fielding had to make a decision: carry on in his alternative niche, possibly with diminishing artistic and financial returns, or try something different. In an interview with The Independent in 2015, he admitted that he was in limbo. It was time, he suggested, to make the leap into the mainstream. “Maybe in 10 years,” he told the newspaper, “I'll be seen as eccentric, like Vic Reeves or Spike Milligan, which would be amazing. But I suppose I'm in this weird transitional period between having some success doing weird stuff and not being eccentric yet. I'm in limbo.” He added that he would like to do something “more real”. TV companies often look for credible figures in the music world to front popular shows. Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs partially re-invented himself and became a judge on The Voice. And Noel Gallagher was sounded out for The X-Factor. But few production teams have ever reached so far into the left field as Channel 4 have with Fielding for Bake Off. Noel Fielding, left, with the rest of the new Bake Off team In many ways, the show seems like the perfect vehicle for him. It’s prime time but attracts a cult audience. It provides a platform for wacky or light-hearted interludes within a rigid format. And it will give Fielding ample opportunity to play the jester to Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith’s po-faced headteachers. Fielding is clearly aware that he’s entering a new world. However, he doesn’t seem to be letting go of his past in the process. Just before midnight on Friday night, Fielding was pushed on stage in a wheelchair at the Reading Festival by a pair of nuns during the encore of his buddies Kasabian’s headline set. Wearing a black cape and drinking from a golden goblet – his face painted white around a vast handlebar moustache – Fielding reprised his role as Vlad the Impaler from the band’s 2009 music video. He fell from the wheelchair – perhaps in a nod to cult hero Kurt Cobain, who did the same thing when his band Nirvana headlined Reading in 1992 – and demonically leapt around the stage for five minutes. When the song ended, he bowed and took the microphone. In a thick Transylvanian accent, he proved that he can still just about straddle the indie and mainstream worlds at the same time. “Thank you, many people,” he told the crowd. “Also, I present cake show.” It seems that, for now, Fielding is having the last laugh. Bake Off 2017: meet the contestants  
  • File photo dated 04/04/19 of Matt Lucas who has joined The Great British Bake Off as its new co-host. The former Little Britain star, 46, replaces Sandi Toksvig and will present alongside Noel Fielding.