The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer returns to our screens on Tuesday night. A motley crew of sportswomen, reality stars, comedians, actors and newscasters mingle with an MP and rapper to be crowned the nation’s celebrity baker.
So, who will win the nation’s heart with a sumptuous sponge or charming Cannoli?
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players
William Shakespeare continues “they have their exits and their entrances”; the thespians will be hoping not to be the first heading for the exit.
Our Girl and former Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan is 6/1 favourite to win the show. She zipped through the pre-series special and sits atop the pile.
It’s a Corrie-reunion with Sally Lindsay who played Shelley Unwin for five years. Her husband is respected drummer Steve White, so we should expect Sally to show a good rhythm when beating eggs and whisking.
She’s one of a cluster of actors featured at 20/1, along with John Lithgow and Greg Wise. Oscar-nominated in 2003 for the fantastic The World According to Garp and a year later for Terms of Endearment, Lithgow – who played Yoda in a radio version of Star Wars – is riding the crest of a wave with The Crown where he starred as Winston Churchill.
Lithgow, according to Russell Brand, is the one everyone wants to impress: “People are weak at the knees for him. They love him, they couldn’t get enough of that daft brownie with a flag on it!”
Wise also starred in The Crown as Lord Louis Mountbatten is a familiar face in British TV productions but Mr Emma Thompson is considered a rank outsider to win.
Russell Tovey, meanwhile, is a 12/1 shot and used to working in chaotic circumstances. His turn as a delivery driver in the Muppets Most Wanted movie is one which will never be forgotten.
You’re Having A Laugh
Brand is the joint-second favourite with the bookmakers, with the bearded wonder preferring a “Hollywood handshake” to a soggy bottom although his self-deprecating references to his baking abilities make him more likely to deliver the latter.
Jon Richardson will thank Jimmy Carr for his barbs on Eight Out Of Ten Cats; they should stand him in good stead for any of Paul or Prue’s acerbic wit. He might be on the wrong programme, however. “I really like stews,” he said. “Everything in a bowl boiled down right to its essence.”
Dubbed the ‘comedians comedian’, James Acaster brings his unique style of corduroy to the kitchen while bringing up the comedic rear are Joe Wilkinson, another of the Eight Out Of Ten Cats crew and Johnny Vegas, whose father Liam Pennington died from cancer last year.
Giving Themselves A Sporting Chance
Hannah Cockroft (8/1) was identified by Jon Richardson as the most competitive of all the contestants but Katarina Johnson-Thompson (10/1) and Nicola Adams (18/1) will put that to the test.
Woe betide Paul Hollywood for any chiding of Adams who has won three of her five professional fights by knockout…
Have They Got News For You?
In an about-face, newscasters Krishnan Guru-Murthy (7/1) and Jeremy Paxman (20/1) will be the ones under scrutiny for their bakery skills. Will ‘Paxo’ have the nerve to tell the judges that even though he has been beaten by the clock, he’s started so he will finish?
An interesting candidate is Labour MP Jess Phillips, who is a 20/1 shot. Time spent in Westminster on Brexit will be a piece of cake as she tries to avoid her ‘Bake-xit’.
Which brings us to the final cluster of contestants. Rapper Big Narstie, or Tyrone as his mum calls him, is a rank-outsider while self-confessed cougar Caroline Flack is pushing Queen of the Jungle Georgia Toffolo for the Queen of the Kitchen title, but both are way behind Rylan in that race.