About that new season of #BakeOffAU

At 10 o’clock this morning, Foxtel issued a press release announcing that they had commissioned a sixth season of The Great Australian Bake Off, but with a brand new cast. I tweeted about it briefly, but didn’t have time to say much because I was working. Before I continue, I just want to say that what I haven’t had contact with anyone from Foxtel or BBC Australia and that this is what I think happened based on the wording of the release.

Claire Hooper, Maggie Beer, Matt Moran and Mel Buttle. Image courtesy of Foxtel
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Here is the section of the press release regarding Matt and Maggie:

Maggie Beer and Matt Moran have made the decision, that after an incredible five seasons, it is time to step down as judges on The Great Australian Bake Off, with Maggie wanting to dedicate more time to her foundation and business and Matt focusing on many of his other commitments.

Maggie Beer said: “I have had a wonderful five seasons because of the friendship that felt like family working with Matt, Claire, Mel and our crew, and I will always be part of the Bake Off family. I have however made the decision that it is time to take a break. It has been such a privilege to help mentor the fine baking talent we have in this country, and I look forward to seeing what sweet treats are in store for this upcoming season.”

Matt Moran said: “It’s been an incredible five seasons on The Great Australian Bake Off, working alongside my dear friend Maggie and Mel, and Claire, who made me laugh every day. Thank you to all the crew and contestants over the years, you’ve become such good friends of mine. I am now excited to focus on my own restaurants and some new projects. I wish the new cast and bakers all the best.”

This is sad, but unsurprising. Given the tragic news that Maggie’s daughter Saskia passed away suddenly in 2020, it’s not a surprise that she’s chosen to step down. There was speculation that she might have stepped down before the most recent season, but she chose to continue. I can also see Matt not wanting to continue without Maggie. The interesting part is regarding Mel and Claire (emphasis mine):

After much consideration, the decision has been made to recast the hosts and judges for season 6 of The Great Australian Bake Off with FOXTEL and BBC Studios Production ANZ to announce the new cast line up.

Marshall Heald, Executive Director of FOXTEL Entertainment said: “We are incredibly grateful for the contribution the Bake Off team- judges Maggie and Matt and hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper have made to establish the format in this country and to help make it the success it is for FOXTEL. We look forward to sharing the new cast line-up in coming weeks ahead of production.”

Before you say anything, I know that the first sentence paragraph isn’t in the MediaWeek article I linked to. Anyway, Mel and Claire didn’t choose to step down from their roles as hosts. That happened somewhere in the production process. Mel and Claire weren’t asked to provide a comment, while Matt and Maggie were given that opportunity. I’m not a public figure, but I have been made redundant (on R U OK Day nonetheless). This feels a lot like that. I wasn’t allowed to talk about the process as it was ongoing, and an email went out to all staff not long after I was told. It sucks for them and for us, because Mel and Claire are in the top tier of Bake Off hosts in any iteration of the show.

I’d like to thank Matt, Maggie, Mel and Claire for making the Australian version of this show delightful, and I’ll miss all of them.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll hopefully be making gif tributes to the hosts and judges (either on my old blog or this one) over the weekend. And I hope Foxtel and BBC get the new casting right. Fingers and toes crossed.