Belfast Telegraph

The Great British Bake Off unveils its 2017 hopefuls as critics praise debut episode

Critics have praised The Great British Bake Off in its new home on Channel 4.

The Great British Bake Off has unveiled the line-up for its 2017 series, with a health inspector and an architect among the hopefuls.

The baking programme will be debuting in its new home on Channel 4 on 29 August, with Paul Hollywood joined by new co-judge Prue Leith and new presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig.

And on Tuesday, the network revealed the 12 contestants hoping to impress the panel in the newly-decorated tent.

On the female front, yoga-loving health inspector Kate will be aiming to win over the judges with her "old-fashioned" baking techniques, but will have some tough competition from Julia, who has spent the past three years honing her baking skills in preparation for the show.

Laboratory research scientist Yan, Sophie, a former Officer in the Royal Artillery, and ex school teacher Stacey will also be trying their luck on the series, as well as the programme's oldest contestant to date, 71-year-old Flo.

Among the men competing for the coveted trophy are IT programme manager Peter, software developer Chris, baking banker James and architect Tom, while Steven, who has a background in marketing, will also be hoping for success.

Completing the line-up is 19-year-old Liam, who has been baking for four years and has earned the nickname "Cake Boy" among his friends at university.

Despite the contestants only just having been revealed, bookmaker William Hill has already released odds on the hopefuls, with Julia current favourite to win, ahead of Steven, Liam, Tom and Yan.

The announcement of the line-up comes after several critics were given the chance to review a preview of the first episode, with the consensus generally positive. The Daily Mail's Sarah Rainey commented that from "the moment those opening credits roll – and, yes, it’s the same plinkity-plonk theme tune, with the little girl dipping her fingers into the mixing bowl – it’s like being wrapped in a warm, comforting blanket."

Meanwhile, The Guardian's Mark Lawson writes that "the eighth series of the extreme patisserie challenge manages to seem both exactly the same but also just subtly different enough", as the Daily Telegraph's Michael Hogan praised Noel's "impish wit and sheer cheek".

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