The Great British Baking Show fans, prepare to say farewell (or au revoir or sayōnara) to its country-themed challenges.
The normally gentle-spirited baking competition stirred up controversy last season when hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding donned sombreros and ponchos to promote "Mexico Week," shaking maracas and making cringy puns while contestants raced to make items that some viewers considered inauthentic.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 4, 2022
Following the outcry, the show will drop culturally themed episodes, GBBS producer Kieran Smith told The Guardian. "We're not doing any national themes this year," he said. "We didn't want to offend anyone, but the world has changed and the joke fell flat."
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock Prue Leith
After the "Mexico" episode hit Netflix in October 2022, judge Prue Leith said the series strayed into controversy by accident. "There would have been absolutely no intention to offend," she said. "That's not the spirit of the show."
Two years before a contestant rocked the internet after peeling an avocado like a potato, GBBS's "Japanese Week" raised eyebrows when Lucas referred to katsu curry as "cat poo curry" and some bakers used flavors from India and China for their Japanese-inspired desserts.
In 2021, the most talked-about development on the show's "German Week" episode was Italian baker Giuseppe Dell'Anno triumphing over German contestant Jürgen Krauss.
When GBBS returns later this month — with Big Brother star and actress Alison Hammond replacing a departing Lucas as its cohost — the challenges will get back to what the show has traditionally excelled at, Smith said.
"We're doing all the regular weeks: cakes, biscuits, bread, patisserie, chocolate," he said, "plus party cakes is a new theme. No spoilers, but it features challenges I think viewers will love."
The new Great British Baking Show season will air on the U.K.'s Channel 4 before landing on Netflix. A Netflix representative for the show did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
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