Last season, the usually calm and friendly baking competition sparked controversy when hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding wore sombreros and ponchos to promote “Mexico Week.”
They shook maracas and used awkward puns while contestants rushed to create items that some viewers felt were not true to the Mexican culture.
After the backlash, The Great British Baking Show will no longer have episodes with themes related to specific cultures, as confirmed by GBBS producer Kieran Smith to The Guardian. He stated, “We’re not doing any national themes this year,” he said. “We didn’t want to offend anyone, but the world has changed and the joke fell flat.”
Following the release of the Mexico episode on Netflix in October 2022, judge Prue Leith expressed that the show unintentionally entered into controversy. She stated, “There was absolutely no intention to hurt anyone’s feelings. That’s not the spirit of the show.”
Two years prior to a contestant gaining internet fame for peeling an avocado like a potato, The Great British Baking Show‘s “Japanese Week” caused a stir.
During that episode, Lucas made an inappropriate comment by referring to katsu curry as “cat poo curry,” and some bakers incorporated flavors from India and China into their Japanese-inspired desserts, which raised eyebrows.
When GBBS returns later this month, with Alison Hammond joining as the new cohost in place of the departing Matt Lucas, the challenges will return to the show’s traditional strengths, according to producer Kieran Smith.
“We’re doing all the regular weeks: cakes, biscuits, bread, patisserie, chocolate,” he said, “plus party cakes is a new theme. No spoilers, but it features challenges I think viewers will love.”
The upcoming season of The Great British Baking Show will premiere on Channel 4 in the UK before becoming available on Netflix.