'Farewell to soggy bottoms' - judge Berry quits 'Bake Off' out of loyalty to BBC
Mary Berry will step down as a judge on 'The Great British Bake Off' when it moves to Channel 4 as the BBC plots a rival, it was revealed yesterday.
Berry bid "farewell to soggy bottoms" and said her decision to stay with the BBC was out of loyalty to the broadcaster that gave the show its start.
Meanwhile, fellow judge Paul Hollywood has announced he will make the move to Channel 4. It is understood he turned down a role on 'Top Gear' to complete the switch.
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.
"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."
Her decision follows the shock announcement by hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins to stay with the BBC.
Hollywood said: "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.
"'The Great British Bake Off' has 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."
Former 'Bake Off' contestant Ruby Tandoh, who was wrongly accused of flirting with Hollywood when she was on the show in 2013, slammed Hollywood as a "peacocking manchild lingering wherever the money is".
Hollywood was also criticised for failing to mention Berry in his initial statement about his future, despite thanking the BBC, Giedroyc and Perkins.
"I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding," he initially announced. He later tweeted to say how much he would miss Berry, saying: "I'm staying in the tent with the bakers where I belong. I want to thank Mary. I'll miss her but she has made the right decision for her."
Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, welcomed Berry's decision, which comes after days of speculation about whether she will move.
"Mary is an extraordinary woman and the BBC is her natural home," Ms Moore said.
"She is an inspiration to generations, a real icon and I can't wait to cook up more unmissable shows with her in the future."
The BBC is believed to have offered Love Productions, the producers of the popular baking show, £15m (€17m) a year to keep the programme. But the amount is reported to have fallen £10m (€11.6) short of what Channel 4 paid.
Channel 4 has signed a three-year agreement with Love Productions.
The BBC had said it "made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money".
Perkins and Giedroyc released a joint statement last week to reveal they were not moving.
"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," they said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)