Tuesday 22 October 2019

‘High pressure situations’ have helped prepare MP Jess Phillips for Bake Off

The politician is up against Johnny Vegas, Big Narstie and Olympian Katarina Johnson-Thompson on Bake Off.

Jess Phillips
(Yui Mok/PA)
Jess Phillips (Yui Mok/PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Politician Jess Phillips has said she should keep her cool on Bake Off’s Stand Up To Cancer show because being in “terrorist incidents” has taught her to remain calm.

The Labour MP is one of several celebrities taking part in the fundraising edition of the Channel 4 show, where she is up against comedian Johnny Vegas, grime artist Big Narstie and Olympian Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Discussing how she copes under pressure, Phillips said: “I am quite good. I’ve been in some incredibly high pressure situations where I’ve had to think very, very quickly to keep people out of danger, and keep myself out of danger.

“I’ve been in terrorist incidents so I’ve learnt to remain calm in situations.”

Phillips said she was taking part in the charity edition because cancer had affected both her parents and she saw first-hand the difference funding can make.

“My dad was diagnosed with chronic leukaemia when I was 11 years old,” she said.

“Twenty six years later he is still alive thanks to research that was done into medicines and treatments for people with his cancer.

“He just wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for people donating money to cancer research.”

“Also I have seen the downside, where things don’t get research,” she continued.

“My mum died when I was in my twenties from leiomyosarcoma, which is quite a rare cancer, and there wasn’t the same level of research.

“So I have seen literally in my own life the difference it can make when money is invested.

“I know how important it is to ordinary people’s lives, because I still have my dad and I don’t have my mum.”

Vegas has also watched both his parents go through treatment for cancer, and has been on many programmes supporting the charity Macmillan.

“Unfortunately, our father is no longer with us, but while he was he received not only incredible care but incredible support from them,” said the comedian.

“My mum has been through treatment.

“It’s something that I think you do get more personally involved when it affects you, you know?”

While he has a soft spot for judge Prue Leith, Vegas is hoping to get the seal of approval from Paul Hollywood.

“Prue, I’m more attracted to. I’ve been quite open and honest about that,” he said.

“I like strong women and I could just happily take criticism off her every day.

“I could wake up and have her tell me I’ve ruined her life and that she’d made a huge mistake and I’d be absolutely chuffed.

“Whereas Paul, it’s definitely Paul. I want the handshake. I’ve come on it for that. I want the Hollywood Handshake.”

Other stars who have signed up for the celebrity specials include Jeremy Paxman, Michelle Keegan, Russell Brand, Caroline Flack and Georgia Toffolo.

Phillips and Vegas take part in the third episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer, which airs on March 19.

PA Media

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