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Baking has been around for centuries and in celebration of the ninth series of the Great British Bake Off, here are some fun facts about the show. From how long the application process is to revealing the test cake of choice for the show’s ovens.

1. Bake Off has not always been shown on BBC One

It wasn’t until Series 5 in 2014 that the show made the move over, before then it was broadcast on BBC Two.

2. The tent hasn’t always had a permanent home at Welford Park in Newbury, Berkshire

In the first series, the tent, cast and crew went on a nationwide tour of the UK with stops including Scone Palace and Bakewell.

3. There have been 27 international versions of the show

But only 22 are still airing or in production. The Great American Baking Show saw both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood as judges, but not on the same season.

4. Great British Bake Off applicants cannot have acquired any professional catering qualifications in the last ten years

In fact, when filling out the seven-page application form it includes questions about applicant’s previous mishaps and success in the kitchen.

5. The application form is just one part of the process to get on the show

The next stage is a telephone interview with a researcher. Followed by a trip to London with two baked treats in tow for an interview with a producer and on-screen test.

That’s not all! There is then a second audition, which involves completing a Technical Challenge – plus take another bake along with you.

Finally, if by this point you are still in the running, you will then be interviewed by the show’s psychologist to make sure the contestant can handle the pressure of filming.

Phew – and that’s all before the show has begun!

6. Noel Fielding worked in a cake shop when he was 14

Although he was caught by the boss, lying down eating cake and was sacked on this first day – destined for a presenter job on the Bake Off all along!

7. BBC’s presenters, Mel and Sue have been friends for 29 years and were raised only ten miles apart

Mel was born in 1968 in Epsom. Sue grew up in Croydon, London. They first crossed paths in the late 1980s at the University of Cambridge where they were both case in a production put on by the Footlights comedy troupe.

8. Sandi Toksvig’s on-screen career started in children’s TV

Sandi was ‘responsible adult’ Ethel in ITV’s Saturday morning kids’ show No.73. She then went on to appear in its spin-off The Sandwich Quiz and other children’s programmes. Sandi is best known though for appearing on quiz and panel shows.

9. The first Hollywood Handshake didn’t hit our screens until Series 3 in 2012

Since then it’s been a rare occurrence on the show but that’s what gave it is power. Given as gesture of approval, a few times a year Paul would reach out to a disbelieving baker – but last year Paul mixed it up and dished out three in one episode. The outrage.

10. Paul Hollywood wasn’t always going to be baker

Hollywood studied sculpture at the Wallasey School of Art but quit the course to start work as a baker and first worked in his father’s bakery in York.

11. Comic Relief took over the tent for two series’ in 2013 and 2015.

A host of celebrities entered the tent including An Extra Slice’s very own Jo Brand, Claudia Winkleman, Lulu and Youtube superstar Zoe Sugg – who was pipped to the post of Star Baker by Gok Wan.

12. On average there are 12 to 20 ingredients per bake

But it does vary – Frances Quinn used 124 for her cake in the 2014 final.

13. Oh Victoria (sponge)! That’s a lot of cake in the oven!

To make sure that there are no technical difficulties that a bad cake can be blamed on, a Victoria sponge is baked in every single oven, every single day.

14. Why Victoria sponge?

In fact, it’s what Mary Berry makes whenever she is testing a kitchen and has since her first job working at the Bath electricity board showroom where she drove to customers’ homes to show them how to use their new electric ovens.

15. Timing is everything on the Bake Off – but it’s not just for the bakes

Contestants aren’t allowed to put anything in or remove anything from the oven without flagging a producer down first so that the can film those baking moments.

16. Who does the dishes?

Dishwashers aren’t used in the show as they are too noisy, but the contestants don’t do it either – the show employs extra staff just to wash dishes.

17. Whoops, that wasn’t the winner – was it?

The winner of series 8 was accidentally revealed twelve hours before the finale was due to air by on twitter by judge Prue Leith.

18. New themed weeks

2018 sees the introduction of two new themed weeks; Vegan Week and Danish week.

19. 3 million viewers are needed per episode to break even on the show

20. Retailers saw a 4.7% increase of syrup, a key baking ingredient, over the course of the 2014 season

21. Increase in annual baking sales

After the show you are left craving cake and maybe even been inspired to whip up a bake or two of your own but did you know that since the show started in 2010 (to 2017) there has been a £1.2 billion increase in annual baking sales.

Whether you have you been inspired by the show to set up your own baking supplies shop or independent bakery, it’s important to ensure that your business is covered.

At The Retail Mutual, we can help to protect your business with an alternative to traditional insurance. To find out more or for a free no-obligation quote, call 0333 2121 280 today or fill out our online quote form. We look forward to hearing from you.

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