‘Great Irish Bake Off’ is back for more sweet viewing

TV3 show will be ‘a treat at the end of the weekend’, says Sideline Productions

Lilly Higgins, Anna Nolan and Paul Kelly of ‘The Great Irish Bake Off’: TV3 series returns this Sunday at 9pm. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Lilly Higgins, Anna Nolan and Paul Kelly of ‘The Great Irish Bake Off’: TV3 series returns this Sunday at 9pm. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

 

Showstoppers and signature bakes at the ready: TV3’s The Great Irish Bake Off will return for its third series this Sunday at 9pm and the big question at the launch event on Monday was how it compares to the British original.

“It’s a million times better,” replied on-message presenter Anna Nolan.

The Great Irish Bake Off is made for TV3 by Sideline Productions and, as with the second series, the new run was filmed in Tinakilly House, Co Wicklow. “This year there is a bigger tent,” says series producer Simon Proctor.

The Irish series has a much tighter filming period than that enjoyed by the BBC version and was shot over four weeks in September, when the weather was blissfully nice enough to allow the producers to raise three sides of the tents for most of the show.

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As part of the BBC format “bible”, all the international versions must be filmed in a tent, while the bakers’ benches are another compulsory element – other furniture in the tent this year has been provided by Dunnes Stores.

The headline sponsor is once again Odlum’s, while sharp-eyed viewers may also spot the bakers using a slab or two of Stork margarine along the way.

While The Great British Bake Off uses Union Jack bunting as part of its set dressing, there are no tricolours in the Irish one – the BBC doesn’t specify national flags in its format bible, telling producers to “do what feels right”, says production co-ordinator Jedda Downey.

It was all smiles, cheers and sugar-highs among the bakers at the launch event, despite the fact that 11 of the 12 already know that they didn’t win.

By choosing a Sunday slot, TV3 is hoping that the baking-fest will put a dent in what is usually a strong night of the week for RTÉ One (notwithstanding an underwhelming performance by drama Clean Break). “It will feel like a bit of a treat at the end of the weekend,” said Proctor of the Great Irish Bake Off.

Audience numbers may also be sweetened by the strong Irish interest in the BBC show, which has just finished its run. The finale of the series, won by Nadiya Hussain, was watched by 13.4 million people and is the most-watched television programme in the UK in 2015.

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