Wednesday 13 December 2017

Prue Leith waiting to land her 'dream' job on The Great British Bake Off

Prue Leith attends A Very Special Afternoon Tea
Prue Leith attends A Very Special Afternoon Tea

Television cook Prue Leith has said she is "close" to replacing Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off but she has not been told whether she has made the grade.

The former Great British Menu judge, 76, said she has had two auditions and lots of meetings about joining the hit show when it airs on Channel 4.

She told the Press Association it would be a "dream" to land the job opposite Paul Hollywood.

Asked whether congratulations were in order, she said: "Do you know I don't know.

"Presumably. I mean I'm certainly one of the runners.

"I can wish. I can dream."

Speaking while at A Very Special Afternoon Tea event to help people suffering from dementia, she said: "I've had two auditions with them and lots of meetings.

"So I mean I think I'm close but I know there are two people in the running. One other person.

"Of course I'd love to do it. Who wouldn't want to do it?"

She added: "I've known Mary for years and she loved it."

The food critic admitted that she had not watched Bake Off, the biggest show on TV last year, "that much" but that she is a fan.

"I was on The Great British Menu for 11 years and the reason I stayed for so long is the company was so nice.

"The company has to be delightful because you've got to spend so much time with them.

"And I'm sure Love Productions (the makers of the Great British Bake Off) will be like that. They're a nice company."

Asked if she was a fan of the show, she said: "Yeah, I have... I mean I haven't watched it that much but it's been going for what, eight years or something, so I've certainly seen a lot of it and it has a lovely atmosphere.

"I don't like cookery shows which are all about humiliating people.

"What's so good is that the contestants, however disappointed they are, they always know that it is fair.

"Paul is very fair. He's lovely."

Berry decided to stay with the BBC along with hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins after Channel 4 poached the series.

Leith, who is supporting nutritionist Jane Clarke's food website Nourish to help people living with cancer and dementia, said that she will be going on holiday and not thinking about the show.

She said of the auditions: "They couldn't tell us much. I always enjoy myself anyway and I just had a nice time.

"But it's up to them to decide whether they want (me)."

Asked when she would find out about whether she had landed the plum job, she said: "I honestly don't know. I'm going off on holiday tomorrow. I have no idea.

"I'm not going to think about it. When I come back, I expect to either be anointed or cast into outer darkness. One or the other.

"I don't know ... It's a lovely show."

South African-born author, campaigner and restaurateur Leith stepped down as a judge on the Great British Menu in October after 10 years on the programme.

She joked that the news that she could be the face of Bake Off was "fake news".

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said they will be announcing the revamped show's line-up "in due course".

Last month Berry, 81, was named best TV judge at the National Television Awards.

Press Association

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