This Is How To Get On The Great British Baking Show

Wouldn't you love to be on The Great British Baking Show, under the big white tent whipping up marvelous creations out of icing sugar, golden syrup, and stem ginger? Even if you messed something up pretty badly, Prue and Paul still wouldn't go all Gordon Ramsay on you. British though Gordon may be (Scotland is still part of the UK, after all, despite Mel Gibson's best efforts in Braveheart), his demeanor is more suited to American reality TV.

But how could you manage to get a spot on the show? You may suspect that it probably helps to be British...and you would be right. Contestants of all nationalities are welcome, but The Great British Bake Off rules of entry state that they do need to be residents of the UK. If you're on the wrong side of the pond, well, according to the UK government website you can apply for a residence card if you have a family member who is a citizen of any EU or EEA country or Switzerland. If you can't scrounge up any close European relatives (we're guessing third cousins twice removed won't cut it), InterNations GO! suggests you may need to line up a job or apply to attend school in the UK, or as a last resort find a Brit who's willing to marry you all for the sake of the show. The last one is pretty much its own reality TV premise, thus undoubtedly boosting your chances by supplying that all-important interesting backstory.

What else you need to do to apply for the show

Ok, once you've got that whole residency thing nailed (they never said you had to establish citizenship, so that's something, at least), what comes next? Well, for starters, you'd best be at least 16, otherwise, you'll be applying for Junior Bake Off instead and will likely need parental permission. You'll also need to have never been employed as a professional baker, cook, or chef, although they may make an exception for the occasional stint spent manning the fryer at Mickey D's. Yet another deal breaker would be if you or anyone in your immediate family or even any "close friends" (not sure how they determine the degree of closeness, though we suspect a little social media scrutiny may be involved) have any connection to Love Productions or Channel 4 or, needless to say, the GBBS itself.

As to what's going to make your application stand out, you'll be needing to supply all manner of technical details (4 or 5 pages' worth) about your past "bakes," as well as pics of the same, so it is to be hoped that you've been Instagramming these as you go along. One more note before you rush to fill out your application: timing is everything. The Sun reports that the application period opens up each fall, but the rules for the 2021 season note that applications closed on December 6 of 2020 so the earliest you could get on the show would be 2022.

What happens if you get past the application stage

Should you be one of the chosen few whose on-paper (or online) persona and baking skills impress the production team, you'll then have to make it through a phone interview. The next step, if all continues to go well, would be your having an eat and greet with the production team – they will be the ones doing the eating, as you will be expected to bring them two different examples of your baking, one sweet and the other savory. (Or rather, "savoury," since by now you're a proper UK resident and must learn to spell accordingly.) Finally, you will be subjected to the ordeal of an "audition day" where you'll need to perform a blind baking challenge in a commercial kitchen along with other would-be contestants. Not only must your bake come out perfect, but your personality will need to be ready for prime time.

Assuming you don't wash out entirely (in which case you may be contacted by the producers of Nailed It!), don't expect to hear back in a hurry. Series 5 contestant Jordan Cox told The Sun that it took 6 weeks or so before he heard back from the show's producers. He did offer one piece of advice for anyone else auditioning for the show: "The route I would take if I could go on the show again is: 'keep it simple stupid!'" (Apologies for the not-nice word, but it does make for a better acronym.)