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Chemistry, not format, is what makes for successful light entertainment

Sandi and Noel. What matters isn't the names but the chemistry.
Sandi and Noel. What matters isn't the names but the chemistry. Credit: PA

In what must be the most eccentric alliance since Stirling Moss, Joan Collins and Geoff Boycott got together to lend support to an early manifestation of Ukip, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig have been announced as the new faces for The Great British Bake Off.

Channel 4 knew they would have to work hard to try and repeat the chemistry that made the show such a triumph on the BBC, but the disparity in tone between Leith’s fiery criticism, Toksvig’s tightly controlled wit and Fielding’s rambling surrealism sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Of course, there have been more unlikely unions of programme and presenter that have proved successful. Whoever could have predicted that Bruce Forsyth would be repatriated into light entertainment by virtue of an appearance on Have I Got News for You? Or that James Corden would be embraced by millions of humourless Americans? But the fact is...

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