Four familiar faces return to troll an overstuffed nation with delicious-looking, butter-heavy sweet treats

Lately, it seems like the Bake Off franchise has been put to substantial use by Channel 4. Since series 11 ended, we’ve had recaps and festive shows, seemingly by the week. The Great New Year Bake Off (Channel 4), the last of two seasonal specials, brings back Nancy, Rahul, Helena and Henry, all stellar parts of their respective years, to demonstrate that there’s plenty of heat in those ovens yet. This is a Now That’s What I Call Bake Off special, an opportunity to get the band back together once again.

The Bake Off proved – that’s a bread pun, and I believe that having to point it out means it’s a successful one – to be a national tonic as the pandemic months dragged on. Everything that made it so eminently watchable, and everything that has given it this seemingly limitless lifespan, felt utterly right in 2020. It was kind, comforting and funny, and it spoke to our growing national appetite for chasing down flour and eggs, and attempting to whip up a cake or a biscuit, if not quite in the shape of the Louvre, then at least as something vaguely edible. It feels appropriate that it should take us into 2021, too.

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