Great British Bake Off viewers are living for Alison Hammond as co-host: ‘Genius choice’

Alison Hammond (right) and Noel Fielding (left) hosting season 14 episode one of The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off returned to Channel 4 last night (26 September) with 12 new bakers and a new co-host in the form of national TV treasure, Alison Hammond.

The This Morning presenter replaces former presenter Matt Lucas at the side of returning co-host Noel Fielding and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith for season 14 of the hit baking competition.

As the new batch of contestants were set a range of technical, signature and show-stopping challenges to prove their baking prowess, Hammond brought her usual chaotic charm to the screen to kick off another round of Bake Off, which has introduced viewers to a number of loveable queer amateur bakers over the years.

The last time Hammond appeared on the series – during a Stand Up 2 Cancer celebrity special – she managed to lose the door to her own oven, so naturally fans were braced for the former Big Brother star to bring hilarity and her trademark cackle to the role.

Alison Hammond praised by viewers as she makes Bake Off hosting debut.
Alison Hammond praised by viewers as she makes Bake Off hosting debut. (Mark Bourdillon)

Speaking to her This Morning colleagues ahead of Tuesday’s episode, Hammond admitted how “nervous” she was feeling about joining the series.

“I was really respectful of the brand”, she explained. “I just wanted it be Bake Off as it was. I didn’t want to upstage anyone but I couldn’t help the laugh. The laugh always comes out. It’s a massive responsibility and I feel so blessed and so privileged to have been given that role. Honestly I’m pinching myself.”

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Despite Hammond’s reservations, her debut proved a roaring success following a The Godfather-style introduction that saw the other presenters initiate her into the gang.

The episode hit all the right beats from there, serving the usual winning recipe of innuendos, generous helpings of the word “moist” and nerve-wracking tension as each baker raced to get their sweet treats just right.

One review in The Independent called Hammond “a natural fit and immediate hit”. The Guardian echoed this, describing her as “the most lovable jolt of energy” and declaring that her “infectious cheeriness, which has melted everyone from Harrison Ford to Mariah Carey, is unparalleled.”

“Hammond is a lovely, sunny presence. A little Alison goes a long way, but she’s deployed at just the right level here,” The Telegraph added.

Beyond the critics, Hammond’s first episode has also been praised by fans, who are loving the new addition to the Bake Off family.

“Brilliant start to GBBO. Alison Hammond is such an obvious choice, why has it never happened before?!,” one person wrote.

Another added: “Queen Alison Hammond is (as was expected) a brilliant addition to the show! Tuesday nights are saved.”

Meanwhile, former Countdown star Carol Vorderman declared Channel 4’s casting of Hammond a “genius choice”.

“Our Alison Hammond on #GBBO is Perfect”, the TV star wrote.