Friday 22 November 2019

Sue Perkins: Contestant crying over marron glace made me question my Bake Off future

The comedian has also admitted running out of cake-inspired puns.

Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc, Mary Berry and Sue Perkins (Ian West/PA)
Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc, Mary Berry and Sue Perkins (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Sue Perkins has revealed that she questioned her future on the Great British Bake Off – when a contestant wept over a missing packet of marron glace.

Perkins, 47, and fellow host Mel Giedroyc, 49, quit the hit show after Channel 4 poached the BBC flagship.

The comedian had just spent time with a family who lived off yak butter and barley when she saw tears flow over the confection in the Bake Off tent.

Sue Perkins on Desert Island Discs (BBC/Amanda Benson)

“There was one point, I will be honest, where I did think, ‘can I do this forever?’,” Perkins told BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs.

“Four days before I came into the Bake Off tent I had been with (a family in Tibet), who had no electricity and no running water.

“They would have yak butter and barley and that’s all they ate and they would meditate and would be in bed by six.

“Four days later I was in a tent where somebody was crying because they couldn’t find the packet of marron glace.

Mel Giedroyc launches the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party fundraiser (Ian West/PA)

“I did think, how can I rationalise these two worlds?”

“But”, she added, “I miss it and I also wish it well. There’s no point in rancour.”

Her comments come after Mary Berry admitted she was not keen on contestants crying on the show, saying “there are occasions when you want to cry your heart out, but not on a television programme”.

Perkins has previously said that one reason she did not follow Paul Hollywood to Channel 4 was she was running out of puns.

And she told Kirsty Young that when she joked about the Croatian city Split, she wondered whether she had “sunk to the very bottom of what is possible”.

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I think we were running out of puns, I’m not going to lie”, the star said.

“There’s only so many in the tank. When we had a Croatian bun and I said rather loudly ‘it had split’, I thought, I have really, really sunk to the very bottom of what is possible.

“Every bap pun, every Hungarian ring pun was just mined and mined and mined. But I would have carried on doing it (Bake Off) I think. It was a really sweet show. I loved all of it.”

She said she did not need to call Giedroyc to ask whether she wanted to stay with Bake Off “because I knew what she was going to do. It was merely a question of how we were going to do it?”

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (Ian West/PA)

Perkins dedicated T Rex song 20th Century Boy to her comedy partner, saying: “We have seen each other though such highs and lows”.

And she added of their immediate future: “I’m very hopeful that Mel and I will do some pratting about, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what yet.”

:: Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11.15am.

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