The Appeal of The Great British Baking Show

As new episodes roll out, we seek to uncover the question of why this show is so popular, especially in the US


Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

Noel, Matt, Paul and Prue.

“The Great British Baking Show” has remained a phenomenon in both the United States and the United Kingdom for over a decade. First premiering on August 10, 2010, the show produces new seasons each year, with filming taking place over the summer and the show premiering during the fall and winter. Over 9.2 million people have tuned in to watch “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix alone, according to Variety.

In each season, twelve new bakers compete in signature, technical, and showstopper challenges to be named the next best baker. Judges test them on their time management skills, taste level, creativity, and overall baking ability. The show began with judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry but in recent seasons, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judge the show. Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas co-host. Fielding and Lucas provide a comedic element, sharing laughs with each other and competitors during baking challenges.


“The Great British Baking Show” exudes joy instead of a high-stress environment familiar to viewers from other baking shows. On “The Great British Baking Show”, contestants do not compete for a large cash prize, which lessens the show’s competitive nature. In an article by the Los Angeles Times called, “Why ‘The Great British Baking Show’ is too good for this cruel, cruel world”, they cite the benefits to winning the show which are the title of winner, and an engraved cake stand. Bakers only join the show to learn and possibly win a title, instead of to battle one another for money as is the case with most other baking competitions.

Without the high-stress and arguments occurring between contestants, viewers can watch friendships bloom between bakers. The bakers assist each other when necessary on the show, rather than fight with one another. The camaraderie between the contestants kindles a joy within viewers, a key component in making the show a hit. Eliminations are also very fair on “The Great British Baking Show”. Only the judges can decide who stays and who leaves after the three baking challenges. Judges eliminate bakers from the competition based on their critiques from that week, rather than the amount of personality or drama they add to the show.

Last year, the eleventh season of “The Great British Baking Show” (the eighth to air on Netflix) aired from September 22, 2020, to November 24, 2020. Bakers Dave Friday, Laura Adlington, and Peter Sawkins all made it into the finale. In the finale, Sawkins became the winner of season eleven after being named “star baker” in episodes one and nine. Sawkins is the youngest winner in the history of “The Great British Baking Show”.


New episodes of season twelve (or season nine) are released weekly on Netflix. The sixth episode of the new season was released most recently on October 29, 2021. In this new episode, the judges awarded Crystelle “star baker”, while Amanda was eliminated for her poor terrine pie. It is unknown who will take home the cake stand in the newest season of the “The Great British Baking Show”, but six bakers are still in the running.

“The Great British Baking Show” attracts many viewers because of the happiness, friendship, and humor the bakers, hosts, and judges exhibit. Unlike most competitive shows, “The Great British Baking Show” focuses on the joy of baking, instead of cut-throat competition.