In a kooky bit of casting news, it was announced this afternoon that Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig will be serving as the new hosts of the revamped Great British Bake Off when it begins airing on Channel 4 later this year. Fielding and Toksvig will be replacing the comedic duo of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, who declined to follow the show from the BBC to its new home on Channel 4. Restaurateur and food journalist Prue Leith will replace Mary Berry — who very well could develop a Bake Off competitor at the BBC — as Paul Hollywood’s co-judge.
“I’ve always loved brightly coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me! It’s basically the double,” Fielding said in a statement, with Toksvig adding: “Noel Fielding is one of the nicest guys in show business. The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh.” While the departures of Mel and Sue may well have left you concerned there won’t be any more soggy bottom puns, don’t fear: Fielding and Toksvig are a promising duo. Below, a brief primer on each of them:
The 43-year-old British comedian is best known for his dark, surrealist sense of humor. He was the co-creator of the influential series The Mighty Boosh, which was based on the antics of the comedy troupe of the same name and aired on BBC Three for three seasons. (Remember “Old Gregg”? That was him.) He perhaps got the most Stateside recognition for a supporting role he had on The IT Crowd as an eccentric goth named Richmond, although he also had a longtime stint on the popular panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks as a team captain. Additionally, he’s a musician and an artist, and a bares a striking resemblance to Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno. (It’s uncanny, really!)
You have to really be tapped into the British comedy community to know more about Toksvig, but her background is nothing short of fascinating. Over the past decade, she has hosted numerous extremely popular panel and quiz shows across the pond — such as QI, The News Quiz, and Fifteen to One — while constantly appearing as a guest on other comedy programs on television and radio. She has also written many books for children and adults, and in 2015, co-founded the Women’s Equality Party, which campaigns for gender equality. Watch her matter-of-factly explain a bit about her accent and her upbringing with a hefty dose of self-deprecation below: