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See The Great British Bake Off presenters at the start of their careers

We're so glad Bake Off is back...

bake off stars early careers
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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The Great British Bake Off never gets old, right? That's why we're loving the brand new series, which is well underway on Channel 4. 

MORE: Great British Bake Off: meet the partners of the judges and hosts

But while viewers love watching the shiny new faces who enter the tent to show off their baking skills, the presenters are equally popular. So we couldn't help but wonder how the regular stars of the show shot to fame and what they did at the start of their careers. See what Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and more looked like back in the day here…

WATCH: Former Bake Off contestants Lizzie and Freya get matching tattoos

Prue Leith

Prue Leith has enjoyed great success in her career as a restaurateur, chef, writer and journalist. In the 1960s and 70s, Prue ran her own catering business and then set up Leith's Food and Wine – which trains professional cooks and amateur chefs.

She also worked for various publications such as The Guardian as a food writer, and appeared on TV shows such as The Great British Menu and My Kitchen Rules, before landing a spot on Bake Off.  

SEE: The heartbreaking reason behind GBBO star Matt Lucas’ weight loss journey

MORE: Everything you need to know about GBBO's Sandro - including the famous star he once baked for

prue leith early career© Photo: Getty Images

Prue Leith in her early career

Paul Hollywood

Before becoming Bake Off's tough-to-impress judge, Paul worked as a head baker in a number of upmarket hotels including The Dorchester.

He then began working on TV shows such as The Generation Game, This Morning and The Alan Titchmarsh Show before being a permanent judge on The Great British Bake Off when it first aired in 2010 on the BBC.

Paul posted this throwback photo on his Instagram back in November last year, writing at the time: "Here's one from the late 80s, it's also the theme for the Bake Off tonight, THE 80s...!"

MORE: Whatever happened to the Great British Bake Off winners?

Paul shared this throwback photo in 2020

Noel Fielding

Noel Fielding is known and adored for offering contestants in the tent comfort as well as witty one-liners, but in addition to appearing on the Channel 4 show, he's beloved for his comedy work.

The actor and stand-up comedian has appeared in The IT Crowd and his own sketch show, The Might Boosh. He's also made a number of appearances on shows like Nevermind the Buzzcocks and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.  

bake off noel early career© Photo: Getty Images

Noel Fielding has had success as a comedian for a number of years

Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas took over Sandi Toksvig as Noel Fielding's presenting partner for the 2020 series. The actor and comedian is perhaps best known for his writing and acting work alongside David Walliams in British sitcoms Little Britain and Come Fly With Me. He's also appeared in Doctor Who and the film, Bridesmaids.

matt lucas early career© Photo: Getty Images

Matt Lucas with David Walliams in their Little Britain days

Sandi Toksvig

Sandi Toksvig might have left the show, but she still remains a part of the Bake Off family all the same! The presenter, writer and comedian began her career at the prestigious Footlights, known for alumni such as Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and then started working on the comedy circuit.

sandi toksvig© Photo: Getty Images

Sandi has had great success as a writer, broadcaster and comedian

She's since become well-known for her radio broadcasting and TV presenting of The News Quiz on Radio 4 and quiz show QI. 

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