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Ten Great British Baking Show Contestants Who Deserve Their Own Series

Nadiya is back! Now give these past bakers their own shows as well…
  • Nadiya Hussein in Nadiya's Time to Eat. (BBC)
    Nadiya Hussein in Nadiya's Time to Eat. (BBC)

    With the arrival of Netflix's Nadiya's Time to Eat, one of the most universally beloved contestants from The Great British Baking Show is returning to TV screens. Nadiya Hussein is one of the series' biggest success stories, translating her Series 6 win into multiple BBC shows, books, and now this time-saving kitchen series for busy families. It's a treat to have Nadiya and her joyous presence back in such a big way.

    But Hussein isn't the only GBBS contestant we need back in our lives. So many of the show's lovable contestants have been instrumental to the show's success.

    Inspired by Nadiya's new Netflixseries, here are ten other Great British Baking Show contestants we'd like to follow in her footsteps. The GBBS Network, anyone?

    Kim-Joy Hewlett (Series 9)

    A Series 9 runner-up and all around delight, Kim-Joy's whimsical designs paired seamlessly with her sweet personality to make her one of the show's most lovable contestants ever. If Kim-Joy can be such a soothing presence sharing the screen with other bakers, it's easy to imagine her being even more of a comfort on her own. She would undoubtedly bring a unique and creative concept to her show.

    Tamal Ray (Series 6)

    Tamal hails from the same season as Nadiya, where he never faced the threat of elimination, something not even Nadiya can claim. He also never wavered in being one of the most dreamy contestants in the show's entire run. With cooking shows of all varieties still largely showcasing straight white hosts, Tamal's presence as a gay man and first-generation Indian Brit would be greatly appreciated..

    Steph Blackwell (Series 10)

    Winning Star Baker honors a rare four times (a feat bested only by Richard Burr), Steph ultimately caved under the pressure of the final bake in Series 10. But as her season progressed, she came out of her timid and self-critical shell in ways that made her a fan favorite. We want her back — and in her own element, away from the pressures of competition — so her television story can continue.

    Liam Charles (Series 8)

    Sweetheart Liam may have hit some bumps along the way to coming in fifth on Series 8, but he also has bragging rights as one of the youngest contestants to advance that far, and has far more on-camera charisma than most. And now that he's further developed his television skills as a judge on Junior Bake Off, he's primed for his own starring role.

    Martha Collison (Series 5)

    The Great British Baking Show's youngest contestant ever remains the series' gold standard for gratitude and graciousness. If her strong start and humility didn't endear her to you, then her equally poised exit surely did. She'd be an absolute natural if given her own series.

    Nancy Birtwhistle (Series 5)

    Then there is the Series 5 winner, perhaps only topped by Nadiya for lovability among all of GBBS 's winners. Something of an underdog heading into her finale opposite two consistent male competitors (Burr and Luis Troyano), she bounced back with one of the most resoundingly clear (and triumphant) finale wins ever. When you think of The Great British Baking Show's upbeat positivity, Nancy immediately comes to mind.

    Steven Carter-Bailey (Series 8)

    Steven produced bakes designed so precisely that he spurred conspiracy theories among viewers doubting his non-pro status. Which would be a perfect excuse to let him offer other home bakers tips on how to achieve his pristine craftsmanship.

    Howard Middleton (Series 4)

    We all know The Great British Baking Show isn't afraid of cuddly elders, but few were as adorably relaxed as Howard, Series 4's eliminated-too-soon gentleman. Howard was known for his droll but optimistic persona and for being politely unmussed during accidental catastrophes: first Custardgate, when fellow contestant Deborah confused his custard for her own, and then when host Sue Perkins accidentally squashed his technical challenge English muffins.

    Ruby Tandoh (Series 4)

    Appearing in the same season as Howard was the introverted but fascinating Ruby. Facing elimination as often as she was awarded Star Baker (sparking some claims of favoritism among the judges), Ruby emerged as one of the most compelling players in the series by being both soft-spoken and outspoken. It's easy to imagine a show of her own would be incredibly chill but intensely focused, because Ruby doesn't suffer foolishness.

    Michael Chakraverty and Henry Bird (Series 10)

    GBBS achieved peak team unity among contestants in its very tight-knit lineup of bakers in the 10th series. But the internet spent months shipping these two baking-tent pals, and Michael and Henry might have stoked such wishful thinking by playing into it. But rather than give these two fan favorites the solo shows their talent deserves, why not give the fans what they really want: a baking spin-off together.

    All six episodes of Nadiya's Time to Eat Season 1 drop today on Netflix.

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    Chris Feil is a freelancer writer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His previous work can be found at Vulture, Vice, Paste, and The Film Experience. Follow him @chrisvfeil on Twitter.

    TOPICS: The Great British Baking Show, Netflix, Nadiya's Time to Bake