I was booted from Bake Off in week one and the lead up was really horrible

Great British Bake Off 2022 is finally here, once again bringing soggy bottoms back into our lives as 12 new bakers enter the tent.

As usual, the beloved Channel 4 competition series will see judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood kicking things off with cake week, with the hopefuls tasked with showing their skills in the signature, technical, and showstopper rounds.

But what really goes down behind the scenes of the first episode and what’s it like to be the first baker eliminated?

Metro.co.uk exclusively caught up with series 10 contestant Dan Chambers, who was the first to be sent home back when Sandi Toksvig was hosting alongside Noel Fielding in 2019.

Dan reveals the long filming process and all the antics from the tent (and beyond), including the horrible build-up to the episode, which aired months after.

According to Dan, the first weekend of filming is five days long, with all the bakers coming down to their hotel on Thursday.

‘You go down and meet everyone two days before filming and you do the group photos because it’s the only time you’ll all be together,’ he explains.

‘You all meet up in a room in waves and everyone mingles with each other. I don’t think there was any form of icebreakers.’

On Friday, group photos with the bakers and the judges are taken. ‘It’s very informal,’ Dan tells us. ‘The judges just show up and there’s not much talking. The presenters, however, did come in to greet us all.’

In the evenings, the bakers all sit around and have dinner together. ‘It was funny, everyone’s quite excited and then people either choose to have an early night or choose to have a drink as I did.’

Filming finally kicks off early on Saturday. But before the lights, camera and action, the contestants have a 20-minute drive to get to the tent. The group all travel together in a minibus that comes to collect them.

Casting his mind back to the first day, Dan remembers it was a ‘long day’. ‘You get to the tent and you do the signature. When you’re baked and finished you would leave your station exactly how it is for two hours while everything is tidied up. Cleaners would come and clean your pots and your station and then you’d go back to the tent and sit next to your cake.’

The two-hour window can spell disaster though, and it did in Dan’s case. ‘I put buttercream on my hot fruit cake and because it had been sat for two hours the buttercream had seeped everywhere,’ he cringes. ‘On TV the judges said it was raw. I admit it wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t raw.’

But what do the bakers get up to while the cleaners are hard at work? ‘You go to this room in the building next to the tent,’ he reveals, adding there are copious amounts of food and drink for nervous bakers to snack on.

This is also when the cast will do their confessionals to the camera about how they think their bake went. ‘Producers will pull people for your little talking to the camera moment, and they do some filming at the end of the day too,’ Dan says.  

Eventually, they all return to be judged before heading for a spot of lunch. ‘They bring somebody in so it’s a cooked lunch and you mingle with the crew.’

The technical challenge then takes place mid-afternoon. Dan reassures us that the bakers are kept completely in the dark about the recipe until they are told to start. But before they can get underway they film ‘a couple of false starts’. ‘They’ll say “ready, set, bake” and you have to look like you’re picking it up but you can’t touch it yet.’

Once the technical is filmed, as well as pieces to the camera, it’s back to the hotel for another night. At this point, the producers check in to see whether any of the group need their clothes washed because the bakers famously must wear the same outfit for day two.

The showstopper round is filmed on Sunday. ‘The judges come in and walk around at certain times while you’re baking and the presenters are always there fooling around and joking with you,’ Dan reveals.

According to Dan, Noel is just like he is on TV. ‘A lot of the things that he would say didn’t make it in because he would just say anything he wanted to and it might not have been quite appropriate,’ he divulges. He also adds that the hosts could be a little distracting at times. ‘You’re thinking “I haven’t really got time to speak to you” and you’ve got to be like “I’ve got to crack on with this”.’

After time is called, the judges do their thing and it’s all ‘very tedious’. ‘You are just sat there and at some points, you can’t even hear what they’re saying.’

Once the judges have critiqued the bakes, the contestant have another break while they wait for Paul and Prue to decide who is star baker and who is being sent home.

‘You’re all waiting around and then you all come back in and that’s a completely different mood,’ Dan reveals. ‘Everybody knows how they’ve done, so they remember what was said. There were a couple of people who were worried and thought they were going but watching it on TV you can kind of see who’s probably going home.’

Once the eliminated contestant is revealed, the producers let the hugging ‘go on for a while’ but then ‘they drag you off’ to film the exit interview.

But for the first eliminated star of the series, their Bake Off journey is far from over as they have to stay at the hotel another night to then pose for more photos on Monday. ‘You’ve got all those photos to take when you’ve already gone,’ Dan says, adding that it ‘felt weird because I look back at those photos knowing I had already left’.

And if that wasn’t enough, after leaving the filming process Dan then had to wait months before he could even confirm he was part of the show.

‘The lead up to the show was really stressful, really horrible actually,’ he confesses. ‘You can’t tell anybody, and I was sticking to that.’

One saving grace, however, is the group WhatsApp chat. ‘Everybody’s in the chat so you’re aware of what’s going on and how everybody did. I’m still in it and it’s still alive.’

Great British Bake Off returns tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

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