Who will replace Matt Lucas as The Great British Bake Off co-host?

Who will seize the whimsical baguette, so cheerfully passed on by Matt Lucas this week as he announced he would be stepping down as the co-presenter of The Great British Bake Off?

What other comedic genius would have the acumen to take on spring rolls and pistachio ice-cream? The compassion to wipe away Iain Watters’ tears over his sloppy baked alaska “bingate” disaster in season five or the beginner-level intuition required to stay away from maracas and sombreros during Bake Off’s much-criticised “Mexican week”?

To the disappointment of committed personal fans such as the Conservative MP Steve Brine, Joe Lycett – who memorably silenced Laura Kuenssberg on live TV by suggesting that while he would not say “that she came from the dregs, Liz Truss was the backwash of available MPs” – has ruled himself out.

So who will be chosen to spark off against The Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding, who has hosted the show since it moved to Channel 4 in 2017?

The comedian Tom Allen made a declaration of interest in the role a full 12 years ago when he told a student newspaper that if his career went south, he’d happily work in a cake shop.

Doubly qualified, Allen has already proved his culinary performance chops by appeared on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice and the magnificently titled comedy drama Fear of Fanny, the BBC Four biopic of Fanny Cradock.

The name of the comedian, author and Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Taylor, who boasts Madonna and Jennifer Aniston among her fans, is also being bandied by the bookies.

Another name is Matt Berry – who has collaborated previously with Fielding on The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh.

Richard Ayoade, James Acaster, Claudia Winkleman, Shaparak Khorsandi, Hamza Yassin and Sara Pascoe are other names being touted. All strong comic contenders and all more than capable of injecting some of the gentle, mutually supportive charm that some say the series has lost in recent times.