Presenters Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas are purring and the new contestants are defying gravity. Yes, the tonic that is Bake Off returns for a 12th series

The year may come when the return of The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4) is not a tonic, a comfort, and a joy that’s all the finer for being low-key. This is not that year. Series 12 shows no early signs of staleness.

It helps that the Bake Off’s casting process, dedicated to showing that the kind, self-deprecating charm of the hobbyist cuts across every social boundary with the possible exception of class, feels more pointedly celebratory of diversity than ever.

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