British Baking Show

On the heels of a record-breaking UK ratings bonanza — with its recent season finale reaching half of the country’s television viewership — The Great British Baking Show (called “The Great British Bake Off” in the UK) makes its US premiere on Sundays from 8-9 p.m. ET, starting December 28, 2014, on PBS.

Renowned British bakers Mary Berry, the UK’s “doyenne of baking” and a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, one of Britain’s top artisan bakers, serve as the series’ judges.

Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur bakers by testing their competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts of all kinds, ultimately crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.

The series is produced by Love Productions, a UK and US based production company that has made several award-wining series in both the United Kingdom and the US. The UK version of “Bake Off” has become the highest-rated food show ever made in Britain.

The Great British Baking Show features 12 passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be the UK’s best. The series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors — young and old, from diverse backgrounds across Britain — as they work to prove their baking prowess. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. PBS will present the BBC’s recent fifth season of the series, which received both critical and audience acclaim for its quick pace, lively comedic tone and competitor diversity.  

In each episode, the challenges come in three categories: the Signature Bake that tests the bakers’ personality, creative flair and baking ability; the Technical Bake, when bakers are given one basic recipe, with the same ingredients and instructions, but no other guidance; and the Showstopper Bake, in which the competitors showcase their depth of skill and talent. In this category, judges seek the most impressive and elaborate creations — which must taste first-class, too.

Co-hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are a successful British comedy writing duo whose antics add lighthearted flare and a dash of naughtiness to the kitchen, as they tease and encourage the bakers while serving as comedic foils to Berry and Hollywood. 

“From Julia Child to Jacques Pepin to Martha Stewart, PBS has had a long history of presenting fun and educational cooking shows to the American viewer, and The Great British Baking Show continues that tradition,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “This series encourages contestants to succeed, emphasizing warmth and humor over humiliation and intimidation. We’re proud to share this delicious and hilarious series with our audience.”