After all those weekly showstopper challenges, it was perhaps inevitable: the TV phenomenon The Great British Bake Off is to become a stage musical.
Billed as a heartwarming and wholesome comedy, the production will follow eight amateur bakers as they compete to impress the judges under the gaze of a pair of presenters. The musical will have its world premiere at the Everyman theatre in Cheltenham this summer. The score is by the award-winning duo Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary whose previous musicals include an adaptation of Sue Townsend’s novel The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾.
The new musical’s producer, Mark Goucher, said that the TV competition – which first aired on BBC Two in 2010 and is now broadcast by Channel 4 – “gets to the heart of the nation”. An average of 6.9 million viewers watched the grand final of the 12th series, in November, in which 45-year-old Italian engineer Giuseppe Dell’Anno triumphed.
Work on Great British Bake Off: The Musical began a couple of years ago in association with the executive producer of the TV series, Richard McKerrow, and the company behind the programme, Love Productions. McKerrow said the musical “has been a creative labour of love that has taken several years of painstaking development” and he hoped that it “embraces the soulful warmth and humorous spirit of the television show … We often say, ‘Love the bakers, love the baking!’ Now it’s time to love the singers, and love the songs!”
The cast for the production, which opens on 22 July, is yet to be announced. The subject of baking has been a recipe for success in previous stage musicals including the Broadway and West End hit Waitress, set in a diner famed for its whimsically named dishes including Polka Dot Peach Pie, Couch Potato Pie and Lost Shepherd’s Pie. Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd – about the Victorian barber turned serial killer – has a less appetising menu. In one of its songs, the waltz A Little Priest, the baker Mrs Lovett promotes her “shepherd’s pie peppered with actual shepherd on top”.