HARPTREE Court, elegant and award winning bed and breakfast of East Harptree, was again the country estate of choice for smash hit pastry-based television show, The Great British Bake Off.
Filming for series four has just been completed, and it promises to be just as sweet and well-baked as the previous three.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Mel Giedroyc, half of presenting duo Mel & Sue, reassures: "It was a cracker of a final. There were about 200 people there, with a coconut shy, candyfloss and stalls. The weather was incredible, unlike last year when there was a bunch of sad people in cagoules.”
Can this showdown reach the standard of last year's triumph? "This year's vibe is good," says Mel.
The format sees 12 lucky contestants given relentlessly complex tasks (see ‘technical bake’), culminating in the ‘show-stopper bake’ - a challenge so tricky it will have bakers dropping their dozens everywhere.
The resulting treats are then judged by two of the pastry world’s most respected statesman: the King and Queen of baking, in fact. Mary Berry, described by the BBC as ‘the doyenne of baking’, and Paul Hollywood, former head baker at the Dorchester.
With a charming combination of humour, competition and deliciously unhealthy food, TGBB has surged from good to sensational. Viewing figures for the first series finale reached 2.2 million, 5 million for the second and an astronomical 7.2 million for the third. There have been two consecutive Baftas, and it has been bought and copied in 13 countries. Competition is increasingly stiff just to get on the programme, with applications “around 16,000”.
Linda Hill, owner of Harptree Court, was delighted to welcome back the crew of just over 50. “They are an absolute pleasure to have around”, she said. “They are all lovely, and we are still able to run bed and breakfast and take care of our guests as normal”.
The first show in the Great British Bake-Off season will be screened on BBC 2 On Tuesday, August 20 at 8pm.