'The Great British Bake Off' is reportedly set to feature three longer episodes when it returns later this year.

Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas

The first three episodes of the popular series - which is currently being filmed at Down Hall Hotel in Essex - will be extended from 75 minutes to 90, thereby making space for an additional ad break.

A source explained to The Sun newspaper: "The first three episodes will be 90 minutes, not 75, so they can include an extra ad break. Some think it's a clever way to pull in cash as times have been tough."

The new series of the baking show - which will star the likes of Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding - is set to return to the air in September.

Earlier this month, 'Bake Off' bosses were said to be "working hard" to ensure that this year's series would take place.

A spokesperson said at the time: "We are working hard to deliver 'Bake Off' to the audience this year, the priority is the safety of everyone involved in the production of the series."

Just days later, it was reported 'Bake Off' was due to resume filming this month.

An insider said: "If one person goes down with coronavirus, then everyone on set has to quarantine, the whole production is thrown into jeopardy and it's a massive risk for small companies to take.

"We are hoping that the government and big broadcasters will step up and carry some of that risk. We can't physically do it without insurance."

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