Why Did Matt Lucas Leave Great British Bake Off?

When the most recent season of "The Great British Bake Off" hit Netflix on September 29, longtime viewers surely noticed that co-host Matt Lucas was absent. As of Season 14, he's been replaced by British television personality and talk show host Alison Hammond.

Lucas appeared on three seasons (51 episodes' worth) before making his exit, citing an overly full plate (pun intended) that didn't leave enough time to do the show anymore. The former host first announced the end of his tent tenure via X, formally known as Twitter, back in December 2022, writing, "It's been a delicious experience and I can't imagine a more fun way of spending my summers, but ... I am cheerfully passing the baguette on to someone else ... I wish whoever takes over all the very best and I can't wait to tune into the next series without already knowing who won!"

It was an overall amicable exeunt, with Lucas' "Bake-Off" co-hosts all posting sentimental farewells on social media. But, not everybody was exactly bummed to hear the news. Scheduling conflicts might not have been the only motivation behind the move.

A divisive tenure

Lucas' professional background was in comedy, not baking or hosting — and according to a lot of fans, it showed. During his final season of "Bake Off," fans took to the internet on multiple occasions to slam the co-host for his loud volume and out-of-nowhere sense of humor that just didn't gel with the show's overall vibe.

One particularly damning thread on the "Bake Off" subreddit asked, "Do y'all like Matt Lucas?" The Answer: Some viewers didn't mind him, some didn't have a particularly strong opinion either way, and some found him "grating" and "a bit much," referencing various forced (often racially insensitive) comedic bits that didn't land like learning the "Flintstones" theme song in German and singing it in its entirety. Accumulatively, moments like these created what shaped up to be the show's most criticized season ever. The "Mexican Week" episode wasn't such a good look, either. (Lucas also previously appeared in blackface in the show "Little Britain," which has since been removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and BritBox). 

"Bake Off" fans had some lingering questions. And in February 2023, the baking show co-host appeared on the "Deeney Talks" podcast to clear them up.

Creative differences and new directions

Lucas first joined the judging team alongside Noel Fielding, Prue Leith, and Paul Hollywood back in 2020, during a time when he said "they were just looking for a new host." On "Deeney Talks," he shared, via Independent, "It came at a time where I had been living in LA for seven years and I had just sold my house there and I was thinking about coming back and spending more time with my family and friends."

To make this former host perhaps even more divisive, Lucas revealed he had never even seen "Bake Off" before joining the show and considers his run as a co-host a pleasant rung on the ladder of his career: "It just kind of happened — it was exactly when the pandemic was and it was the perfect pandemic job and I did it and it was fun and I had a great time with Noel and Paul and Prue and the bakers were lovely and I learned a bit about baking." If there was an element of "not gelling," Lucas had been feeling it, too. 

Now, looking forward, the comedian is turning his direction toward an arena he genuinely cares about and already knows about: Recording music and working on "Fantasy Football League," another British television series. Quoth Lucas, "It probably utilizes what I have better than 'Bake Off.'" Lucas will also be appearing in the upcoming 2023 flick "Wonka" alongside Timothée Chalamet and Hugh Grant.