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It’s Time for a ‘Great British Baking Show’ All-Stars Season

The All-Star season. It’s a reality TV competition tradition unlike any other, where past season winners, runners-up, fan favorites, and beloved villains reunite for a super-charged season of competition. For some shows, like Top Chef, these All-Star seasons have wound up being among the series’ greatest offerings. Audiences not only have a deep familiarity with the returning chefs, but a vested interest in seeing how different seasons’ MVPs stack up against each other. Which leads me to ask: When exactly is The Great British Baking Show going to give us an All-Stars season and why couldn’t it be an all-winners‘ showdown?

Yeah, you read that right. The Great British Baking Show has been on the air long enough that their next season could actually work as a throw down between all the past winners. Such a season would be a glorious combination of Great British Baking Show nostalgia and would let us see who really has the crust, crumb, and creative skill to call themselves the best. (I think it would be Nancy, but that’s just me.)

So how would this work? Why wouldn’t it work? And why would it be an incredible season of TV?

The Great British Baking Show might be relatively new to Netflix, but as of this year, 11 seasons have aired in the UK. That means the show will have 11 winners as of this November. Those starriest of star bakers include Edd Kimber, Jo Wheatley, John Waite, Frances Quinn, Nancy Birtwhistle, Nadiya Hussain, Candice Brown, Sophie Faldo, Rahul Mandal, David Atherton and someone from this season… Add a potential fan favorite (maybe selected from an online vote?) and next season — the show’s twelfth — could easily be an All-Stars season featuring a cast of twelve dynamite bakers duking it out for ultimate bragging rights.

Candice Brown in The Great British Baking Show: Holidays
Photo: Netflix, Channel 4

Obviously the biggest hiccup to this plan? The bakers’ own desire to return to the pressure cooker of the tent. So far, Candice Brown has been the only Great British Baking Show winner willing to participate in the show’s All-Star-esque annual Holiday specials. That suggests that popular winners like Nadiya Hussain and Sophie Faldo have passed on the offer, but it doesn’t mean that Love Productions, the company behind The Great British Baking Show, still couldn’t lure every past winner into the tent again. And come to think of it…an All-Stars season doesn’t necessarily have to be just winners.

In fact, if we’re looking at Top Chef: All-Stars as a template for an All-Stars season of The Great British Baking Show, the move would actually be to bring back fan favorites, runners-up, and folks whose standing in the food industry has exploded since their time on the show. As the aforementioned Holiday installments prove, these kinds of bakers seem way more keen on a second shot at glory. The only issue there is that the Christmas and Holiday round robins might already fulfill this storytelling need, and yet, they don’t.

Tamal on 'Great British Bake-Off'
BBC
While the single episode showdown style of The Great British Baking Show‘s Holiday specials give those installments a giddy sense of play, they’re no substitute for the drama of a full season. Every season of The Great British Baking Show tests the bakers’ mettle in a variety of skills. Are they good at baking cakes? Bread? Biscuits? French patisserie? The very structure of The Great British Baking Show reveals everyone’s weaknesses. Moreover, it also — more importantly — reveals character.

We don’t watch The Great British Baking Show for the bakes. We watch for the bakers. We fall head over heels for their personal stories, their peculiar personal quirks, and the kindness they show each other. Indeed, the real appeal of a Great British Baking Show All-Stars season wouldn’t be watching one baker reign supreme. It would be seeing familiar faces once more. And not for the blitz of a single bake-off, but the extended check-in of a full season of The Great British Baking Show. 

The Great British Baking Show is not only at a point in its run where its primed for an All-Stars season, it would also be the biggest gift the show could give its hard-core fans. A celebration of the show’s history, legacy, and most of all, baking stars.

Watch The Great British Baking Show on Netflix

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