The One Show: Mary Berry discusses Covid vaccine
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The beloved baker has starred in a number of shows since Bake Off left the BBC five years ago, including Celebrity Best Home Cook. Tensions were high when Bake Off moved to Channel 4 because Dame Mary, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc chose not to follow them. The 85-year-old, who stars in Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast tonight, and her former TV colleague, Hollywood, were reported to have faced a number of difficulties after he left them behind.
After Bake Off’s move Dame Mary was replaced by Prue Leith, a South African restaurateur and former host of Great British Menu.
The show has struggled to attract the same peak viewing figures experienced on the BBC, when 14 million people watched the competition.
This year, after another line-up change that saw comedian Matt Lucas fill the boots of QI host Sandi Toksvig, more fans tuned in.
Last year’s Bake Off finale was watched by 9.2 million people – the biggest overnight ratings on Channel 4 in 18 years.
While the show has regained some of its loyal following, Dame Mary seemed to be glad that she didn’t move to Channel 4.
In 2017, she claimed she “wasn’t” attracted by “the prospect of a bigger paycheque” during an interview with the Radio Times.
Dame Mary said: “And anyway, I was never asked to go, I avoided being asked.”
She revealed that “the advantages” of moving to Channel 4 were “suggested” to her but nothing materialised.
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Dame Mary added: “I didn’t ever have a meeting with them, I had made up my mind – to me – it’s an honour to be on the BBC.”
Her love for the corporation began when she was young and described that she was “brought up on it”.
In a swipe at Channel 4, Dame Mary said: “It was the BBC’s programme, it grew there, so I decided to stay with the BBC with Mel and Sue.”
She gushed over the “extraordinary” former Bake Off hosts and said she was “so fond of” them.
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Dame Mary said: “They are extremely bright and their humour is spontaneous and very cheeky… they are hilarious.”
When it came to her verdict on Hollywood’s move, she admitted they had their struggles.
Dame Mary continued: “Paul and I had our differences about what was important to us.”
However, she maintained that she “would always stand by him”.
Dame Mary continued: “He is a brilliant bread-maker and I admired him a lot.”
While the baker seemed to downplay tensions between them, it was noted that she used the word “admired” – in the past tense – rather than “admire”.
In 2019, Hollywood poked fun at Dame Mary when he described her grandiose home during an interview with The Sun.
Column writer Andy Halls believed the star “risked reigniting his feud” when he made a quip about it taking “half an hour” to get up Dame Mary’s drive.
He noted that the pair already had a “troubled relationship” and that a comment about her “lavish lifestyle” would not have been welcome.
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Hollywood made the remark at Festive Bake, a cooking event in Canterbury, Kent, while reminiscing about staying in Dame Mary’s home.
He recalled calling his Bake Off co-star to let her know he was “going to be late back”.
Hollywood told Dame Mary not to wait up for him while he made the 170-mile journey from Manchester to Buckinghamshire.
He explained: “I said, ‘Mary, go to bed, I know what wing of the house I’m in.’”
The reference to the “wing” was interpreted by some as a cheeky dig, but Dame Mary replied: “No, I’m staying up.”
Paul said: “When I arrived she buzzed on the gate to let me in and I drove half-an-hour up to the house.
“It’s one in the morning and she was in her dressing gown, with her hair in rollers.”
After recounting the tale, he claimed to have “had a right laugh” with Dame Mary and said: “She was fun!”
But Mr Halls speculated that might not have been the case when he wrote: “I’m not buying it, Paul.”
Mary Berry stars in tonight’s episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, which airs at 8pm on Channel 4.
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