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We were excited when we knew the Great British Bake Off was coming back to our screens, but the excitement grew when rumours began swirling that one of the contestants is deaf.
This morning, that news has been confirmed and we are excited to meet Tasha. Tasha, 27, is a participation officer from Bristol.
“When I had the Zoom call to tell me I was one of the 12, I cried. Daryl (Tasha’s interpreter) also cried. We were a mess.”
To prepare for Tasha’s time on the show, Dame Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and his new co-host Alison Hammond have all learned basic sign language.
Dame Prue, 83, revealed she struggled to get to grips with it and admitted: ‘I’m not very good at sign language, but Paul is.’ Channel 4 producers were determined Tasha was not made to feel isolated by the way the show was run and the judges were taught sign language to pass on their critiques.
“When we lined up outside the tent to do our first walk-in show, we were all so nervous. It was a big moment when Noel introduced not only Alison but also Daryl as part of the line-up. Seeing Daryl up at the front and feeling fully part of the show was a really special moment. I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Baking from a young age
The best thing Tasha remembers about baking as a child was licking the sugar icing from the top of the fairy cakes she, her mum and her grandma used to make. At secondary school, she made cakes for her friends and was soon encouraged by her Food Technology teacher to develop her skills as a hobby.
Much like her attitude to life, Tasha’s baking is fearless. She uses it as a way to express herself creatively, often embarking upon near-impossible designs – with impressive results! When she’s not baking, Tasha loves going to the theatre to see a West End show and she has a passion for travelling the world.
Teri Devine, Director for Inclusion and Employment at RNID, said:
“We’re very excited that Tasha is joining the GBBO tent this year, and we can’t wait to see what she brings to the show as she navigates her way through the cakes, bakes, signatures and showstoppers that we all love.
“87,000 deaf people across the UK use British Sign Language (BSL), and it’s fantastic that the millions of viewers who watch Bake Off every week will get a taste of this rich and beautiful language on their screens at home.
“We hope this season of Bake Off will raise the profile of BSL, and that Tasha’s presence encourages everyone to learn some basic BSL so that everyone is included.”
Of course we are excited to see all the contestants and their bakes. But we will be (not so) secretly championing Tasha throughout the series.
The new series of The Great British Bake Off starts Tuesday 26th September at 8pm on Channel 4.