Bakers set to compete in this year’s The Great British Bake Off have been told not “to take to heart” what they read about the hit Channel 4 show by veteran contestant Tom Hetherington, ahead of the first episode’s broadcast next week.
Among this year's hopefuls is Peter Sawkins, an accounting and finance student at the University of Edinburgh.
Tom, an architect who lives and works in the Capital, offered the 20-year-old some sage advice on handling his new-found fame.
“I would just tell him - and all contestants - to avoid taking anything he reads to heart too much,” he told the Scotsman, “there's so much positive news about the show which is wonderful, but as always there's some negative points and they're the ones that stick in your mind.
“Michael [Chakraverty] from last year was really sensible and had some of his friends pre-read episode responses so he could avoid the worst of things,” he explained.
“Fans of the show have so many ways to contact contestants nowadays so it can be quite full on,” Tom added, “but Peter is young so I'm sure he's social media savvy already!”
The latest instalment of the hugely popular Channel 4 series will begin next week, after initially being delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s cast and crew were forced to live in a “bubble” together because of the virus, adhering to stringent health and safety measures while filming.
Matt Lucas will replace Sandi Toksvig as host, joining the returning Noel Fielding.
Asked whether living alongside other contestants for so long would cause tension, Tom said he doubted it.
“We were very lucky in that our year got on very well,” he said, “especially during filming, and I know that's the case for most years.
“It's very new and exciting for everyone, so whilst contestants might not have all that much in common outside of baking, they have a shared experience which bonds them well.”
But he insisted that competing in the show is not always easy.
“I am sure the filming within a bubble would have been tough. The days are long; sometimes as much as 16 hours, so it's exhausting.
“Returning to the hotel for some food and much earned sleep is always welcome.
“But again,” he added, “I think if you're all going through it together, that would help settle nerves.”
The youngest contestant in this year's show, Peter has watched every Bake Off series and has been baking seriously since he was 12.
Peter said he loves to honour his homeland in his cooking, using Scottish ingredients – including berries, whisky, oats and honey – whenever he can.
“My strengths are time management and planning,” said Peter. “My weaknesses are artistic decoration and bread baking.”
The new series of The Great British Bake Off will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesday, September 22.