“Bake Off” is losing one of the ingredients in its recipe. Matt Lucas, who hosted the British baking competition series for three series, announced December 6 that the recently concluded 13th series will be his last.
“Farewell Bake Off!” Lucas said in a statement posted to Instagram. “It’s been a delicious experience and I can’t imagine a more fun way of spending my summers, but it’s become clear to me that I can’t present both ‘Fantasy Football League’ and ‘Bake Off’ alongside all my other projects. After three series and 51 episodes, I am cheerfully passing on the baguette on to someone else.”
Best known for creating the BBC sketch comedy series “Little Britain,” Lucas joined the show as co-host to Noel Fielding for its 11th series, following the departure of Sandi Toksvig. Fielding and Toksvig took over hosting duties on the famously wholesome competition series during Series 8, after initial hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc left following the show’s move from the BBC to Channel 4. The show, produced by Love Productions, is judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, the latter of whom took over for initial host Mary Berry following the network switch.
“I would like to give my warmest thanks and gratitude to everyone at Love Productions and Channel 4 and to Noelipops, Paul, Dame Prue, the crew and, of course, the wonderful bakers for welcoming me into the tent,” Lucas wrote in his statement. “I wish whoever takes over all the very best and I can’t wait to tune into the next series without already knowing who won!”
“The Great British Bake Off” (marketed as “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix, where it’s distributed internationally) sees a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of themed challenges, with the loser of each round eliminated. The finale sees the winner selected from a trio of finalists. The series is extremely popular both domestically and internationally, with the 11th series in 2020 receiving the highest ratings for Channel 4 in 35 years.
In spite of its popularity, its most recent installments received criticism for cultural insensitivity, particularly during themed weeks centered around Japanese and Mexican baking, which many saw as misrepresenting both nations’ culinary traditions. Lucas also faced criticism during his time as host, including for a sketch during Mexican Week where he wore a sombrero and poncho, and an incident in Series 12’s German Week where he mocked a German accent.