Thursday 30 March 2017

Farewell to soggy bottoms: Mary Berry's best moments in the GBBO tent

As Mary Berry steps away from 'The Great British Bake Off', Rebecca Hawkes recaps some of her best moments in the tent

TV's favourite grandmother: Mary Berry
TV's favourite grandmother: Mary Berry
Mary Berry and fellow judge Paul Hollywood with presenters Sue Perkins (far left) and Mel Giedroyc

What will The Great British Bake Off be like without Mary Berry? As the news sinks in that TV's favourite grandmother won't be following the hit show to Channel 4, and will instead remain loyal to the BBC, we list some of her most memorable moments.

1 When she discovered that a contestant had used shop-bought fondant

Remember that chilly touch of fear - that unbearable tension - we all felt when season five contestant Enwezor blithely announced he was using (horror of baking horrors) shop-bought fondant in his Space Adventure Moon biscuit sculpture?

We all shuddered for him, knowing full well what was to come. Mary's subsequent "fondant face" (think kindly 80-year-old transformed into Baselisk of death) has gone down in Bake Off legend. Unsurprisingly, poor Enwezor departed that same week.

2 Her delighted reaction to Luis's boozy doughnuts

The real way to win over Mary Berry? Booze, booze... and more booze. The baking superstar seemed rapturously happy back in season five, after she discovered that Luis's rum-infused cocktail doughnuts (which came complete with little straws) were definitely not for teetotallers.


3 The stork jacket

When she donned a Marks & Spencer stork-print bomber jacket during Bake Off 2013, Berry created a fashion frenzy: viewers began frantically Googling, discovered the item online... and ensured that it sold out before the show had finished airing.

A similar reaction occurred after she wore a striking Zara floral piece in 2012, which promptly began trending on Twitter. mary2 stork jacket.jpg

4 When she cried at Nadiya's victory

By the time the season six finale rolled round, we were all rooting for lovely, down-to-earth Nadiya Hussain, who combined a flair for flavour with some hilariously nervous facial expressions.

Her popularity was significant for many reasons, not least because of the fact that, in a media landscape dominated by negative portrayals of Muslims, she was a glowing, beautifully human role model.


But when her triumph was finally announced, the moment was rendered even more moving after viewers spotted a tear or two glistening in Berry's eyes. Seeing the judge cry confirmed that Bake Off isn't just "a job" for Berry, but a passion.

5When she discovered hemp

There was something charmingly innocent about Mary's encounter with this rather unusual baking ingredient in season four, after Howard Middleton decided to use it in a loaf.

"'I know nothing about hemp. Is it grass?" she asked, while eagerly sniffing the flour.

mary hemp.jpg  

6 Telling Paul off for dunking a biscuit

"We don't do that in the south, you know," noted a disapproving Berry, after her fellow judge decided to plunge a Jaffa cake into his tea during biscuit week this season.

Mary's rise to the top


Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry is born in Bath, Somerset, southern England to Alleyne and Marjorie Berry.


After encouragement from a home economics teacher, Berry takes a catering course at Bath College of Domestic Science.

Early 1960s

Becomes a home service adviser for the Electricity Board in Bath, making home visits to customers with a new electric cooker. To test if an oven was working properly, she would make a Victoria sponge.

Late 1960s

iw Mary Berry.jpg

Becomes cookery editor of Housewife magazine, then Ideal Home.


Mary Berry's first cookbook, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, is published in 1970. Her first television series, Afternoon Plus with Judith Chalmers, also airs and is a hit.


Continues to write books and film for the BBC from her home in Buckinghamshire.


Launches her AGA workshops - a cookery school at home. Over 12,000 people participate over 16 years. In 1994, Mary launches a sauces and salad dressing business with her daughter Annabel, and the products continue to be sold today.


Secures her place in baking fans' hearts as a judge of BBC hit show The Great British Bake Off. "Soggy bottom" (when a cake or pastry is still raw underneath) becomes her universally recognised catchphrase.



Awarded a CBE by Britain's Prince Charles.


After seven seasons on the show, Berry announces she will step down as a judge on The Great British Bake Off before the programme moves to Channel 4 for the next season.


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