Mel and Sue’s cheeky Bake Off curtain call
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