THE anticipation, excitement and oh the drama can only mean one thing - the Great British Bake Off is back on our screens.

For fans of the popular culinary programme where amateur bakers feel the pressure of preparing their elaborately baked showstopping creations in a marquee in front of a celebrity panel of judges who all know more than a thing or two about food it’s a must-see all consuming treat.

The new series, launched last week, is likely to spark a social media frenzy with conversations turning to home baked culinary creations and sharing highlights and happenings from the show.

According to a report by the team at immediate future last year there were over 941,000 mentions of Bake Off on Twitter alone.

Data also reveals that individuals tend to post an average of three times about the show - apparently quite unique for a TV programme - and then there are the retweets....

Fans can really be part of the series through conversations and updates shared through social media.

Katy Howell, CEO at immediate future, explains: “GBBO social chatter has a community feel. One of sharing, retweeting and long-term involvement. "

She says audience behaviours differ from the Love Island social activity. Bake Off viewers come together in a shared social experience taking their love for the show offline into office and charity bake-offs and involving friends, family and anyone with shared interests.

Research demonstrates that while contestants, hosts and TV moments (such as show stoppers and technical challenges) are threaded through social, the conversations are often momentary. More importantly the data reveals that these are not the only topics that are of interest. Food takes centre stage with cakes, pies, bread and chocolate topping the bill. But so too do homeware products. There was a big uplift in mentions of ‘cake stand’, aprons and rolling pins.

Despite last year’s Great British Bake Off being controversial, following the move to Channel 4, it didn’t garner the expected negativity on social.

Howell says; “Given the positive and engaged social around GBBO, the insight we have defines key interests and topics that will be a focus this year too.

“This is good news for brands outside of sponsorship deals that want to get involved. There are opportunities aplenty to drive some powerful results.”

The report, free to download at, analyses how brands who are not sponsoring or advertising can make the most of the opportunity to gain reach and target new audiences.

Living in a technological age we’re well aware of how social media is all-consuming and after participating in the show when it was screened on the BBC, Sandy Docherty knows all too well about the attention the show can bring.

Inevitably, since participating in the show Sandy, from Yeadon, has been invited to judge Bake-Off style competitions. Being a Bronte fan, she was particularly proud to be approached to produce the commemorative fruit cake for a garden party held as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Charlotte Bronte’s birth.

Sandy also regularly showcases her culinary skills at high profile cooking demonstrations - her most recent appearance was at the Great British Food Festival at Harewood House near Leeds.

When we spoke she was due to attend another foodie event - the Ludlow Festival in September - with her former fellow Bake Off contestant, Howard Middleton, who she became friends with after the show.

Interestingly, Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain, who appeared in the same series as Sandy is heading to the Kings Hall, Ilkley. Nadiya, now a BBC presenter (Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, Nadiya’s Family Favourites and The Big family Cooking Showdown) is taking part in the town’s literature festival on Thursday September 20 to launch her latest family cook book ‘Bake Me a Celebration Story.’

Although Sandy hasn’t yet given up the day job - she has a rewarding role as a child protection officer at Titus Salts school, Baildon, she is busy developing the brand she launched in 2015.

Through ‘Baking Down Barriers’ Sandy wants to share her love of baking and the benefits it brings.

She talked of plans to be involved in a literacy event in Bradford, about sharing recipes and the stories behind them.

“So many people are willing to talk about food. It is a language on its own, it speaks,” explains Sandy.

Another idea she is keen to explore is launching a community cafe training young people to make meals and bake for the community.

For Sandy baking has been a life-long love - a skill she has perfected since baking with her Mum, Grandmas and Auntie.

In 2015 she had the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of millions of viewers when, out of 16,000 applications, she was successfully selected for the Bake Off series.

Viewers soon warmed to Sandy’s down-earth style during her four week stint on the show. She’d hoped to go further but bread week proved to be her nemesis.

“You feel disappointed in yourself,” she recalls.

She says while appearing on the Great British Bake Off didn’t change her life it was life changing. “I met people and came across things I would never have done and I’m much calmer - I have messed up in front of 14 million people!” she says.

However, she had the opportunity to redeem her culinary talents clinching a commendable second place in the technical challenge when she took part in a special New Year’s Day Bake Off on Channel Four this year.

“I had to do a baked Alaska Tart and I got the Hollywood handshake,” says Sandy, referring to her reunion with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood.

“I got a little bit weepy,” she admits.

“I know what it feels like to get that handshake and I felt like I had achieved a bit more. It boosted my confidence.”

Sandy says she enjoyed meeting up with Paul again and also meeting the new Bake Off team, Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding.

“They were brilliant. I felt like I had come home. It was like I was walking into somewhere so familiar. It really was like meeting old friends and it was nice to go back,” she says.

We all get whipped up in the excitement of it but was makes it so popular?

“So many people can identify with baking and if they want to bake they watch it because they want to get some skills. It’s ordinary people doing an ordinary thing and long may it continue,” adds Sandy.

For more information about Baking Down Barriers visit