Paul Hollywood to front ‘Bake Off’ as Mary Berry quits

Paul Hollywood will join The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 as co-host Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins decided not to make the move from the BBC to the rival broadcaster.
Paul Hollywood to front ‘Bake Off’ as Mary Berry quits

Hollywood, 50, said that he could not turn his back on Bake Off.

“Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf,” he said.

“The Great British Bake Off has brought baking to the nation and we’ve seen people from all walks of life and backgrounds experience the highs and lows of competition, and more importantly helping each other.

“It’s been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn’t turn my back on all that — the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget ... the squirrels.

“So I am delighted that I will be continuing as a judge when Bake Off moves to Channel 4.

“I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding.”

Mel and Sue
Mel and Sue

Hollywood did not mention Berry in his statement, which came minutes after she revealed she would remain with the corporation, saying the “decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them”.

Love Productions, which makes Bake Off, said Berry would be missed. “We respect Mary’s decision not to join the next chapter of the Bake Off story,” it said in a statement.

“We are immensely grateful to her for all her work and for her recognition today that Love Productions had made a ‘unique and brilliant format from day one’ with Bake Off. The whole family, crew and team that made Bake Off for the BBC, and who will now make it just as brilliantly for C4, will miss her.”

The BBC is believed to have offered Love Productions £15m a year to keep the programme, but the amount is reported to have fallen £10m short.

The BBC said it “made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money”.

Channel 4 has signed a three-year agreement with Love Productions.

Berry said: “What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent — The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family — Paul, Mel and Sue — have given me so much joy and laughter.

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

“My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one.

“I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision.

“I wish the programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms.”

Perkins and Giedroyc released a joint statement last week to reveal they were not moving. “We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was,” they said. “The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 (million) at its peak.

“We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps.

“We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.”

Twitter reacts

Former Great British Bake Off contestant Martha Collison has compared the news that Mary Berry will not follow the show to Channel 4 to the abdication of a queen.

Collison, who at 17 was the youngest contestant on the show when she made it to the quarter-finals in the fifth series, wrote on Twitter: “The queen of baking has abdicated. Will the world ever be the same again?”

Richard Burr, who was a finalist in the same series, added: “Crikey! That tent @Channel4 have bought is looking emptier and emptier...”

The Hunger Games star Sam Claflin lent his support to Berry, writing: “The Great British Baker is Off? My egg is broken. Mary Berry is just pure class. Class move.”

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott cheered Berry on with a reference to co-judge Paul Hollywood’s nickname for her, saying: “Well done Mary Berry! Or can I call you Bezza?”

Mary Berry: Soggy bottoms, boozy doughnuts, and hefty sausages

Mary Berry secured a spot as a national treasure in the UK when she joined co-judge Paul Hollywood on the first series of The Great British Bake Off in 2010.

The veteran TV cook has been at the centre of many memorable moments during her time on the show, from “soggy bottoms” to fondant-related death stares, and her penchant for a trendy jacket.

Here are some of Berry’s highlights as she announces she is leaving the popular baking show when it moves from the BBC to Channel 4.

  • Soggy bottoms: Berry is perhaps best known for her kind yet critical judgments on the bakers’ attempts. Her most famous sign of disapproval is to remark on a bake — usually an undercooked pastry — with a “soggy bottom”. On a show known for its cheeky innuendos, this was the standout.
  • Boozy doughnuts: Berry has won legions of fans for her fondness of bakes that include alcohol, and in the fifth series she was incredibly impressed with baker Luis Troyano’s boozy doughnuts.

After taking a sip of the rum-laced cocktail doughnut, Berry pulled a delighted face and said: “I mean, why are we bothering with the doughnuts?”

  • Sausage jokes: During the latest episode of Bake Off, a social media stir was caused as contestant Candice Brown handed Berry a large black pudding sausage. The octogenarian judge showed some gusto as she gladly took the foodstuff in her hand as Brown told her to “feel the weight of that”.
  • Style icon: By the third series of Bake Off, Berry had secured her place as an unlikely style icon as she swapped cardigans for trendy and often brightly coloured blazers. In 2014, during a broadcast of the programme, a printed jacket from Marks & Spencer had sold out in one hour due to Berry wearing it on the episode.
  • Berry’s death stare: In series five, Berry made headlines for her ice-cold gaze, directed at baker Enwezor Nzegwu in reaction to the use of store-bought fondant in his biscuit. It was dubbed the “fondant death stare” on social media, and Nzegwu was eliminated at the end of the episode.
  • The great Jaffa Cake debate: The debut episode of the current series saw Berry chastise Hollywood for dipping a Jaffa Cake into his tea before eating it, leaving fans on social media in hysterics.

Unimpressed, she told him: “We don’t do that in the south, you know.”

  • Cheeky innuendos As well as her “soggy bottom”, Berry is known for her use of other innuendos. One such moment saw her commenting while whisking egg whites: “There it is looking perfectly stiff.”

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