The Great British Bake Off bosses have revealed the “massive sacrifice” the cast and crew made to ensure this year’s series could happen despite the pandemic.
Kieran Smith, who is the creative director at the Channel 4 show’s production company Love Productions, detailed various behind-the-scenes secrets from filming, including how 120 people had to live in a self-contained biosphere for six weeks during the shoot so they did not have to socially distance.
Speaking to Broadcast, Smith said: “So many people rely on Bake Off for work that we knew we had to work out a plan.”
Smith worked with Love Productions’ managing director Letty Kavanagh to hire a South-East location in July, where all of the cast and crew lived alongside 80 members of the production team, 20 hotel staff, and around 20 “children, chaperones and dog walkers”.
Prior to moving in to the hotel, people had to self-isolate for nine days and take three Covid tests to ensure they did not have the virus.
The six-week shoot, which was described as “gruelling”, saw the team work on a “two days on, two days off” basis, while they also built 12 practise kitchens for the bakers to use on their days off.
When filming, producers even worked out a way to transport people from the tent to the nearby hotel so no-one would need to use any public toilets.
Smith and Kavanagh revealed that there was only one coronavirus scare during the shoot, which turned out to be a false alarm.
“It was a massive operation,” Smith said. “It felt like the safest place in Britain.”
“He was practically living with the bakers,” Smith said. “It felt like he had always been there.”
On Wednesday, it was confirmed on Bake Off’s social media pages that filming on the 11th series had wrapped.
Filming was originally due to take place in the spring in order for the show to begin airing this month.
However, judge Paul Hollywood, who returned to the show alongside Prue Leith, previously told Radio Times that could “turn around the programme pretty quickly and still have it out in late summer or early autumn”.