Celebrity Bake Off: Who are the contestants? When does it start? All you need to know about Channel 4's celebrity specials

The oven gloves are off for this year’s celebrity cake competition, held in support of Stand Up To Cancer and featuring stars of film, TV, comedy and more.

The Great British Bake Off may have moved to Channel 4, but it’s continuing the tradition of supporting charity by swapping the BBC’s Comic Relief and Sport Relief specials for Stand Up To Cancer for the second year with its current broadcaster.

We’ll see 20 famous would-be bakers donning their aprons and heading to the Bake Off tent to face the judgment of Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, while Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig return to present.

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Find out all you need to know about Celebrity Bake Off, including who is taking part.

When does Celebrity Bake Off air?

The charity special will run over five episodes, with four celebrities competing each time to impress with their cakes and bakes.

Celebrity Bake Off’s tent opens up for the latest batch of bakers on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4, beginning on March 5.

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Who are the celebrities in the first episode?

The series opens on Tuesday March 5 with a corker of a line-up, including some very big names - although whether their baking skills are worthy of being added to their CVs remains to be seen.

John Lithgow

You'll be hard pressed to find a viewer who doesn't recognise American film and TV star John Lithgow. His most notable television credits include 3rd Rock from the Sun, playing Winston Churchill in The Crown, and a storyline run in Dexter, as well as recent film appearances in Interstellar and Pitch Perfect 3.

Jon Richardson

We're counting on comedian Jon Richardson to keep things light, although we don't know whether that will extend to his cakes. He's a Channel 4 regular with some experience of the Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser, as a resident panellist on 8 Out of 10 Cats and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Hannah Cockroft

Paralympian Hannah Cockroft holds five Paralympic golds for wheelchair racing and is an MBE, no less. We'll find out whether her speed on the race track will translate to quick work in the kitchen during episode one.

Russell Brand

One of the biggest names this series kicks things off with a star turn in the first episode. The comedian and broadcaster is known for his quirky style which we're expecting to see in his bakes. 

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Who are the other celebrity bakers in the series?

Jeremy Paxman

He's more used to putting stressed-out students or tense interviewees under pressure as host of University Challenge and, formerly, Newsnight. But now Jeremy Paxman will be the one feeling the heat in the kitchen.

Sally Lindsay

Star of the small screen Sally Lindsay is probably best recognised for her role as Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street. She's also starred in series Mount Pleasant, Still Open All Hours, and Scott & Bailey.

Michelle Keegan

Another cobbles graduate is Michelle Keegan, who played Tina McIntyre for six years before her character was pushed to her death from the balcony of the building yard. These days, she's better known for starring in military drama Our Girl and for being married to Mark Wright of Towie fame.

Russell Tovey

After star turns in many a favourite TV series including Gavin & Stacey, Being Human, Him & Her, and Sherlock. Russell Tovey recently found Stateside fame in Quantico. He will be back on UK telly again soon in Emma Thompson series Years and Years.

Greg Wise

Actor Greg Wise loves a period drama - he's known for his roles in Sense and Sensibility, Cranford, Effie Gray, and recently appeared as Lord Mountbatten in The Crown.

Jess Phillips MP

Breaking up the loviness of the huge number of actors signed up to the series is Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. Can she handle the pressure? Well, the contest shouldn't be more chaotic than what she encounters in her day job at the moment.

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James Acaster

Stand-up comedian James Acaster will be helping to boost the comic element of the series. You may have seen him on Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You, and Have I Got News For You.

Big Narstie

Rapper Big Narstie has had an eclectic career, performing as part of group N-Double-A and more famously on his own, becoming an internet personality, and recently launching his own Channel 4 chat show, The Big Narstie Show.

Nicola Adams

Boxer Nicola Adams shot to fame as one of the celebrated Team GB who the nation got behind during the 2012 London Olympics. She's won two Olympic golds in her flyweight category and was awarded an OBE for her efforts.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Rising star of track and field Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been steadily gaining ground in the heptathalon since the 2012 London Olympics. In 2018, she won gold at the Commonwealth Games and is now a household name in British athletics.

Caroline Flack

Presenter Caroline Flack has some of the biggest titles in TV under her belt - she's hosted the X Factor, won Strictly Come Dancing, and is now the leading lady of everyone's favourite reality contest, Love Island.

Joe Wilkinson

One of Channel 4's most hilarious stars at the moment is the gloriously weird, bearded Joe Wilkinson. He's best known for his surreal anecdotes on 8 Out of 10 Cats and the panel show's Countdown spin-off.

Johnny Vegas

Comedy royalty is making its way to the Bake Off tent in the form of Johnny Vegas. His more recent star turns have included Still Open All Hours, Benidorm, and Moone Boy, and he also had memorable roles in Bleak House and Grimsby.

Georgia Toffolo

She may have started out as a ditzy socialite in reality series Made in Chelsea, but Toff has carved out a career for herself by winning I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2017, and taking part in Celebs Go Dating. She also voiced a character in the 2018 remake of The Grinch.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Journalist and broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy will be casting aside his serious side for the frivolity of Bake Off. In 2015, he hit the headlines himself when Robert Downey Jr walked out of an interview with him, claiming the questions were too probing.

Rylan Clark-Neal

In 2012, Rylan was a not particularly strong-voiced hopeful on the X Factor. Since then he's become a fixture on our TVs, having been signed up to present Big Brother after winning the celebrity version himself, working as a regular reporter for This Morning (and presenting a few editions alongside husband Dan), and fronting a number of TV contests and shows.

What is Stand Up To Cancer?

Stand Up To Cancer is a charity appeal run jointly by Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK to benefit the charity.

The fundraiser has been running since 2012 and so far more than £38 million has been donated through it.

Previous TV specials for Stand Up To Cancer have included Gogglebox, The Crystal Maze and Celebrity First Dates.

Celebrity Bake Off airs Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4, beginning on March 5.

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Images: Channel 4

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