Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
The Great British Bake Off has announced there will be a change from last year, after complaints from viewers.
The Channel 4 show is gearing up to return for a 14th season, and it has announced that it won’t be doing any more nationality-themed challenges after criticism of racism from viewers at home.
Last year saw Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas introduce a “Mexican Week” – appearing wearing sombreros, holding maracas, and even impersonating Mexican accents.
There were Mexico jokes aplenty, and generally, people were (rightly) upset about it…
Responding to backlash they got at the time, the show’s executive producer Kieran Smith said to The Guardian: “I hold my hands up to the cooking complaint and the theme weeks.”
“We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat. We’re not doing any national themes this year.”
He added that this year, the show would be going “very traditional” with its challenges.
“No spoilers, but it features challenges I think viewers will love,” he added.
“In a way, we’ve returned to the philosophy of the first three series,” he said. “There are some beautiful classic ones and they’ve been a big success.”
Mexican week wasn’t the show’s first foray into international cuisines, as there has previously been a Japan week and German week, too.
Speaking on the offence caused last year, Prue Leith also told The New Yorker: “There would have been absolutely no intention to offend. That’s not the spirit of the show.”
The Great British Bake Off officially returns to screens on September 12th, and the return to a more familiar format isn’t the only tweak.
Matt Lucas will also be replaced by ITV favourite Alison Hammond as a judge. What fun!
Featured image: Channel 4