‘The Great British Baking Show’ began as a national phenomenon in the United Kingdom and is quickly becoming a cultural obsession in the United States as well. If you’re just getting into this beloved baking reality show, here’s everything you need to know to get up to speed.


Losers of the show are exiled to Saint Helena to die Napoleon’s death: Winning the show only affords you the honor of victory, but losing means you must languish powerlessly on the small island of Saint Helena until you die, just like Napoleon Bonaparte did in the wake of his failed conquest of Europe.

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The show imposed an age limit of 1,000 years after the wizard Zalurax baked an evil cake that came to life: Although The Great British Baking Show welcomes amateur bakers of all backgrounds, the show was forced to add an age cap after the 2,000-year-old wizard Zalurax appeared on the show in season two disguised as a kindly old widow. By the time Zalurax’s glamour wore off and his ancient face unleashed a bone-chilling cackle, he had already baked a five-tier cake capable of strangling all of the other contestants. The cake was finally gunned down after multiple casualties and a police standoff, but Zalurax escaped in a cloud of smoke. In an attempt to prevent a disaster like this in the future, the show instated a strict age limit of 1,000 years to limit the amount of insane, ancient wizards entering the competition.

In Great Britain the show is known as Food Going’s To Happen Now: The show airs under its original title, Food’s Going To Happen Now, in the U.K., but in the U.S. it’s known as The Great British Baking Show due to Food’s Going To Happen Now being the trademarked slogan of Cracker Barrel restaurants.

The Great British Bake Off has spawned a number of copycat shows, including The Huge Croatian Man-Horse Hunt, and its spin-off, The Rescue Mission For Contestants On The Huge Croation Man-Horse Hunt: Although critics panned THCMHH for copying GBBO’s positive tone and jokey manner, critics have applauded TRMCHCMHH for its riveting tone of frantic panic as one by one the rescuers realize the Huge Croatian Man-Horse has been following them the entire time they’ve been following it.

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Hundreds of contestants have tried to defeat BakeBot, but all have failed: Over the course of the show’s 64 episodes and 28 specials, no competitor has ever bested BakeBot—a robot developed by the BBC to be the perfect baking machine. BakeBot’s coldly calculating, utterly perfect computerized intelligence allows it to create the most delicious pastries and cakes in the world, and it is simply too powerful for any human contestants to out-bake. BakeBot remains undefeated to this day.