The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry will officially no longer judge CBBC’s Junior Bake Off. It had been reported in July that the star would quit due to her heavy workload.
Junior Bake Off, which currently screens every two years to avoid clashing with Junior MasterChef, will instead return with a completely new line-up.
Junior Bake Off’s James Martin, Mary Berry and Aaron Craze (BBC Pictures)
Children’s presenters Sam and Mark (Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes) will take over from celebrity chef Aaron Craze, who hosted the first two series.
Meanwhile, there are also fresh faces doing the tasting: the new judges are top chef and food writer Allegra McEvedy and renowned executive pastry chef Graham Hornigold. The cooking duo replace 80-year-old Mary and BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen host James Martin.
Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes pose for photographers (Grant Pollard/Invision/PA)
Junior Bake Off, which won a Bafta for Children’s Entertainment in 2014, is made by Love Productions, producers of the hugely popular adult version. It will be back on CBBC this autumn with 40 of the country’s best junior bakers.
The contestants range in age from nine to 12 and, like the adults in the hugely popular BBC One series, they enter the Bake Off tent to have their cake making, biscuit baking, pastry and bread making skills tested to the limit.
— Junior Bake Off (@juniorbakeoff) November 29, 2013
In each of the 10 heats, the youngsters will face the Technical Bake and the Showstopper challenges. They are expected to bake to the judges’ exacting briefs, but they can also let their imaginations run wild.
For the first time this year, there is a knock-out element to the series: only four junior bakers will make it through to the grand final of Junior Bake Off 2015.
— Junior Bake Off (@juniorbakeoff) November 26, 2013
Talking about the forthcoming series, Allegra said: “Getting the next generation excited about being in the kitchen has always been a driver of mine and to be able to put that into action against the backdrop of the Bake Off phenomenon really is a dream come true.”
Graham stated: “I am honoured to be joining Junior Bake Off as a judge alongside Allegra. Together I hope we can encourage, inspire and educate some of the next generation of young bakers who now enter the famous Bake Off tent.”
New Junior Bake Off judge Graham Hornigold (Sean Zanni/AP/PA)
Cheryl Taylor, controller of CBBC, added: “Junior Bake Off is back with a tent full of budding young bakers who will no doubt give their adult counterparts a run for their money.
“Let’s hope that Sam and Mark rise to the occasion when we ‘knead’ them – alongside brilliant new judges Allegra McEvedy and Graham Hornigold.”
Sharon Powers, executive producer, Love Productions said: “Our new set of junior bakers are a talented bunch who promise to bring great bakes and gripping drama to the Junior Bake Off tent.
Allegra McEvedy receives her MBE from the Prince of Wales in 2008 (Martin Keene/PA Archive)
“We’re thrilled that they’ll be put to the test by our fantastic new judges, Graham and Allegra, while the brilliant Sam and Mark will host the action. We’re looking forward to the exciting and fresh new line-up inside Britain’s most famous tent.”
The last series was won by Hampshire schoolboy Harry, who impressed with his rabbit muffins and pocket watch carrot cake in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party-themed final.