Alison Hammond thanks Matt Lucas for praise as Bake Off debut attracts less fans

Matt Lucas praises ‘fantastic’ Alison Hammond on GBBO

Matt Lucas was on hand to reassure Alison Hammond after her debut on Great British Bake Off attracted less viewers, declaring that she “smashed” her first show.

“Huge congrats on last night, Alison! You smashed it. So warm & natural & funny,” the comic and presenter told her on Twitter (X), adding: “Hope you are enjoying all the love xxxx.”

Alison, 48, took over as Matt’s replacement on Tuesday, but newly released viewing figures suggest that the 4.3 million who tuned in represent a drop of 100,000 on the previous year.

Meanwhile, the previous year’s figures had seen 1.3 million more viewers than the amount seen this week, suggesting a gradual decline since 2021.

In spite of the disappointing slump, Alison warmly replied to her predecessor with a cry of “Thanks, Matt”, accompanied by two love heart emojis.

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She also shared a photo of herself doing a celebratory dance in “behind the scenes footage” posted on Instagram yesterday, which was reposted by a follower, declaring: “Ali you absolutely smashed it!”

Alison had earlier expressed her pride at formally becoming a member of the Bake Off “family”, alongside co-stars Noel Fielding, 50, Prue Leith, 83, and Paul Hollywood, 57.

If she’s disappointed by the figures, she didn’t show it after sharing snaps of herself grinning happily at a Kylie Minogue concert at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night, while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Aussie pop star’s face.

She seemed to have attended with sport presenter Alex Scott, who had originally posted the picture, and teased that her pal was Kylie’s “number one fan”.

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In a sketch screened at the start of the first Bake Off episode, Alison kept viewers entertained as she interacted with Paul Hollywood, who was declared the “Breadfather”.

Filmed kissing a huge loaf of bread on the judge’s desk, she was then playfully admonished by Paul for not “coming to see him sooner”.

The This Morning star replied: “I don’t mean to brag, Breadfather, but I’ve been very busy. Daytime TV, hosting the BAFTAs and I was in a Stormzy video.”

Alison drew attention to herself for the grand entrance by donning a suit and tie along with a smart-looking bowler hat, leading Twitter fans to gush that getting her onto the show had been a “stroke of genius”.

Fans said they had “never” laughed so much during the scenes – and the star continued to show her sense of humour in a clip filmed with chef Gino D’Acampo, 47, on Instagram.

Gino asked her: “How can you do the Bake Off if you can’t cook?”, only for Alison to good-naturedly burst into laughter and advise the camera: “We’re going to cut it there.”

Gino exclaimed: “No, no – don’t cut it there! Let’s be honest, I’ve known you for 15 years!”

Alison responded: “You know I can cook,” before continuing: “Luckily I’m hosting it – I don’t even have to cook, or bake. I don’t have to do nothing (sic). I’m just laughing and eating cake – that’s it!”

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