The 12th season of The Great British Bake Off is underway with talented pastry chefs from all over the United Kingdom baking up a storm in the white tents at Down Hall in Essex. Expect the best of returning judges Paul and Prue as they judge a variety of delectable cakes, puddings, and buns, and week by week, get closer to revealing this season’s Star Baker.
But despite being on the air for so many seasons, fans still have questions about how the competition series works. One behind-the-scenes query has been bugging viewers for years: Why are the bakers always in the same clothes for the duration of each episode, even though each episode clearly takes place over two days?
Keep reading while we get into it.
Why do they wear the same clothes on 'The Great British Bake Off'?
The twelfth season of The Great British Bake Off was once again filmed in a "COVID bubble," with the cast and crew having to isolate in COVID-secure conditions for the duration of the filming. But while certain aspects of the show had to be changed due to the pandemic, one thing has stayed the same, which is that everyone on-screen appears in the same clothing for the duration of each episode.
Given that each episode takes place over the course of two days, fans would think that once the contestants got home for the evening, they would want a fresh set of clothes. After all, there’s only so much that an apron can protect you from, and dry flour is notorious for getting into even the tiniest nooks and crannies.
But as many contestants have confirmed, everybody is told to wear the same clothes for both days for continuity purposes. Producers are apparently quite strict about this rule so as to maintain the flow of the competition show and not distract viewers from the baking itself.
This still presents a problem for some of the bakers who, let’s also keep in mind, are filming for up to 16 hours a day during the summer months, when things inside the tent can get quite sweaty.
Season 4 contestant Selasi Gbormittah explained the dilemma: “I was very worried about a sweaty day in the tent so would spend the evening after the first day of filming hand washing my tops in my hotel room sink with a bar of hotel soap and then dry them on the radiator overnight ready for the next day’s filming.”
Contestants are allowed to pick their own clothing, so long as no articles of their clothing have any obvious branding on display. They’re also encouraged not to wear stripes as they can often get distorted on television. Selasi took his own clothing choices a step further, matching his outfits to the week’s themed challenge, wearing a floral print for botanical week and a red shirt for Tudor week.
Thankfully, contestants are allowed to change one item of clothing when going from day one to day two of filming: their aprons. 2013 winner Frances Quinn revealed, “Luckily they change the aprons so we don't look like a Jackson Pollock painting by the end of it.”