Mel and Sue’s cheeky Bake Off cur­tain call

TV Times - - Front Page - cook­ery The Great Bri­tish Bake Off wed­nes­day / bbc1 / 8.00Pm Re­becca Fletcher

As they bid farewell to Bake Off, hosts Mel and Sue talk fan­tasy show­stop­pers, pub­lic nu­dity and cracks…

From be­ing TV’S best-loved show, The Great Bri­tish Bake Off has be­come the most con­tro­ver­sial, as the fall­out con­tin­ues over its switch next year from the BBC to C4.

But back in the tent, it’s busi­ness as usual, as Mel and Sue – now host­ing their fi­nal series – de­bate the mer­its of a sponge corgi.

Which, of course, seems per­fectly nor­mal. For a na­tion that’s gone bak­ing mad, th­ese things are im­por­tant. Soggy bot­toms, sunken souf­flés and split cus­tard are no longer tri­fling is­sues. Cake mat­ters.

So much so that when the Queen turned 90 in April, Bake Off was in on the act with last year’s win­ner, Nadiya Hus­sain, be­ing called upon to bake Her Majesty’s birth­day cake.

Hence the corgi dis­cus­sion.

‘I’d have given it a go if asked,’ nods Sue Perkins solemnly. ‘I’d have done a sponge corgi – a mas­sive, weird, sandy-coloured dog, with a coil of poo at the side.’

‘I’d have bought a re­ally ex­pen­sive cake and to­tally dis­tressed it,’ says Mel Giedroyc. ‘Dusted some ic­ing sugar on the top, crum­bled the edges. Job done.’

Judge Mary Berry sighs in the man­ner of a dis­ap­pointed par­ent.

‘My mother liked a trea­cle cake that she used to top with choco­late gin­ger ic­ing,’ says Mary. ‘She made it as a tray bake and it’s quite sim­ple. I don’t imag­ine the Queen has a lot of bak­ing tins, so I think this would be a sen­si­ble idea.’ And what would her fel­low judge, per­nick­ety per­fec­tion­ist Paul Hol­ly­wood, cre­ate for Her Majesty? ‘I would do a sponge Buck­ing­ham Palace cake that was, of course, iced beau­ti­fully.’ Well, of course!

It’s botan­i­cals week and, with the fa­mous tent pitched in the beau­ti­ful grounds of Welford Park in Berk­shire, the bak­ers don’t have to look far to be in­spired by na­ture for their chal­lenges. The sun is shin­ing and pheas­ants and squir­rels dot the rolling lawns and man­i­cured flowerbeds. Can we re­ally see sheep frol­ick­ing in the dis­tance?

‘Ah, sheep,’ grins Paul, eyes glint­ing as he spots Sue cring­ing.

‘Has Sue told you how I got her back this series for the time she pinched my car?’

In a past series, Sue re­port­edly stole the keys to his beloved As­ton Martin and drove it into a ditch.

‘Welford Park’s own­ers, Deb­bie and James Pux­ley, were hand-rear­ing some beau­ti­ful black sheep dur­ing film­ing and Sue got very at­tached to one – so fond, in fact, that she called it Florence!’ chuck­les Paul.

‘So I asked Deb­bie if

I could buy her and got her to say in front of Sue, “When are you pick­ing up Florence? Do you want her dead or alive?”. To which I replied, “Doesn’t mat­ter, she’s go­ing on the spit the next day any­way...”

‘You should have seen Sue’s face! She went from look­ing as if she was about to burst into tears, to pure anger! I got her good and proper. Florence was de­li­cious, by the way!’

‘Shall we move on?’ sighs Sue, pre­fer­ring to con­cen­trate on this week’s na­ture-in­spired in­nu­endo.

We know the duo won’t let us down on that front. Me­di­at­ing be­tween the con­tes­tants and judges, Mel and Sue are the tent’s per­fect ring­mas­ters, in­ject­ing the show’s vi­tal ex­tra in­gre­di­ent, hu­mour, into pro­ceed­ings.

We’re go­ing to miss them – they al­ways seem to be hav­ing a blast. ‘That’s be­cause we are!’ says Mel.

Mel and Sue are un­flag­ging in their de­vo­tion to naughty one-lin­ers I’d recre­ate the Leather­head Leisure Cen­tre – to in­clude choco­late, bis­cuit and dried cher­ries


Break­ing bread with baker Val Bread­xit: The duo are leav­ing the great bri­tish bake off is pre­viewed on pages 66-67 Mel gets sassy with Se­lasi

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