Mary Berry has admitted that she “avoided being asked” by Channel 4 to move with The Great British Bake Off when it left the BBC.

The baking icon, who decided to stay with the corporation alongside presenters Mel and Sue, was asked whether she was tempted to move to C4 when the format switched channels last year.

“No, I wasn’t,” she told the new issue of Radio Times. “And anyway, I was never asked to go.”

Asked to elaborate, Berry says: “Well, I avoided being asked. It was suggested what would happen if I did go to Channel 4; what I would get, the advantages. But I didn’t ever have a meeting with them. I’d made up my mind. To me it’s an honour to be on the BBC. I was brought up on it.”

Last year, Love Productions decided to take a big money offer for the programme by C4 prompting three quarters of the original line-up to quit the show.

The move was one that shocked many, including the 81-year-old author and baker. “No one was more surprised than me,” she says. “It was the BBC’s programme, it grew there, so I decided to stay with the BBC, with Mel and Sue.”

She had plenty of fond words for the comedic duo, who she described as “extraordinary”.

“They are extremely bright and their humour is spontaneous and very cheeky," she says. "They are hilarious and I am so fond of them.”

Speaking about the relationship she had with former co-star Paul Hollywood, Berry says she “would always stand by him.”

“Paul and I had our differences about what was important to us but he is a brilliant bread-maker and I admired him a lot.”

Although the new judge and presenters haven't been announced for Bake Off, former Great British Menu star Prue Leith has revealed that she is down to the final two after auditioning for the revamped programme.

Read the full interview in the new edition of Radio Times – available now in shops and on the newsstand.