Great British Bake Off is a ratings hit on its return

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry Since the last series, Paul Hollywood has appeared in the US version of the show

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The Great British Bake Off has returned with strong ratings for its first show, adding more than a million viewers on to last year's series opener.

Overnight figures show 5.6 million watched the BBC Two programme, up from four million who tuned into the first episode in August 2012.

Last night's show peaked at 6.3 million viewers with a 26.2% share of the audience.

It beat all other TV shows in its time slot including Holby City on BBC One.

The hospital drama got 4.4 million viewers.

This year, 13 baking contenders started off in the first episode, with the judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, able to remove two in any week they chose.

The bakers range in age from 20 to 54 and include a dentist, a kitchen fitter and a space satellite designer.

In the first episode, they were challenged to make a sandwich cake, an angel food cake and a chocolate cake.

It is the fourth series of the Bafta award-winning baking show.

Last year, 7.3 million watched law student John Whaite win the competition.

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