Great British Bake Off fans immediately offer to lay down their lives for Saku

We are exactly one episode into the latest series of The Great British Bake Off and fans already appear to have chosen their favourite contestant.

The cherished Channel 4 baking competition series returned on Tuesday (26 September) with a new host – This Morning star Alison Hammondand a dozen new bakers.

Among them was 50-year-old intelligence analyst, Saku.

For their first signature challenge, contestants were tasked with making a vertical layer cake infused with buttercream.

Despite insisting she was “not nervous”, it quickly became apparent that Saku was very nervous indeed, earning her a rare and enthusiastic hug from Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood.

She later produced one of the most meme-worthy moments of the episode when host Noel Fielding asked her: “Where can you go from a hug?” To which she promptly responded: “Home.”

On Twitter/X, fans shared their early adoration for the baker.

“I want it on record that I would die for Saku,” one fan tweeted.

“An hour ago we didn't know Saku and now my timeline would go to war for her. The true beauty of Bake Off,” wrote another.

“I LOVE SAKU. PROTECT SAKU AT ALL COSTS,” a third exclaimed.

“Saku has become one of my all time favourite contestants and we're only 14 minutes in,” wrote a fourth.

Saku survived the first week despite her cracking vertical cake and a turtle-themed showstopper that was described as “style over substance” by Hollywood.

The contestant moved to the UK with her husband in 2003 after growing up in Sri Lanka. You can learn more about her here.

In his four-star review for The Independent, Michael Hogan praised a Bake Off series at its “joyously giddy best”.

“Standout characters include cheeky retired cabin crew member Nicky... gentle giant Amos, deadpan accountant Keith and giggly Sri Lankan intelligence analyst Saku – one of those endearingly eccentric characters that Bake Off excels at unearthing,” he wrote.

Season 14 also sees the first-ever deaf contestant on the show – 27-year-old participation officer Tasha.

Tasha is joined on the show by Daryl, her sign language interpreter.

“Seeing Daryl up at the front and feeling fully part of the show was a really special moment,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without him, and without the dedication from the show ensuring I had the same access as the other bakers.”