The Great Comic Relief Bake Off – meet the bakers

From Ed Bryne and Bob Mortimer to Warwick Davis and Claudia Winkleman, here are the 16 celebrities putting their culinary skills to the test on BBC2's bakery battlefield


Name: Claudia Winkleman


Age: 41

Famous for: presenting Film 2013 and Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.

Her chances of winning: 2/5

The mum-of-three has previously confessed to not being a very good cook and has revealed that her favourite comfort food is peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

We’re not sure how Mary and Paul would feel about being served up a plate of sarnies – plus Winkleman does strike us as being a little bit disorganised. But, she did used to present Marco Pierre White’s Hell’s Kitchen so she might have picked up a few culinary tricks of the trade…

Name: Warwick Davis

Age: 42

Famous for: starring in films such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, and his own series Life’s Too Short

His chances of winning: 4/5

Being a Hollywood star, we wonder whether Warwick Davis is accustomed to doing his own cooking… When you’re flitting between the sets of silver screen blockbusters or, more recently, travelling the world with Karl Pilkington as your parter there must be very little opportunity to whip up a Victoria sponge.

But the actor and comedian does seem pretty down to earth, and with that sunny attitude we can’t see him melting under the pressure. Keeping your cool is half the challenge after all.

Name: Julia Bradbury

Age: 42

Famous for: presenting BBC1’s Countryfile

Her chances of winning: 3/5

Country girl Julia is no stranger to the world of food. She told RT she comes from a “foodie family”, but also admitted that baking is not her forte.

We’re not sure whether it will help her acheive that illusive ‘good bake’ but Julia did present food programme Kill It, Cook It, Eat It for three series – and starred in the 2008 series of Celebrity Masterchef. 

The canal-walker also braved a celebrity special of Come Dine With Me in 2009. The star came across as a better hostess than cook though and lost out to Christopher Biggins…

Name: Bob Mortimer

Age: 53

Famous for: years of stand up and comedy, being Vic Reeves’s comedy partner, Shooting Stars and… the voice of Churchill the Dog in them adverts

His chances of winning: 2/5

While our extensive food-based research did reveal that Bob has penned a hand-blender review in the past, he seems more like a ready-meal kind of guy to us. All those late nights and years spent on the comedy circuit could have hardly left time for perfecting pithiviers or practising puff pastry.

Name: Ellie Simmonds

Age: 18

Famous for: winning two gold medals at this summer’s Paralympic Games.

Her chances of winning: 5/5

Ellie has revealed a passion for baking, which already gives her an advantage over the less confident contenders. And she’s an avid Bake Off fan so she’ll know how to please Mary and Paul…

Plus 18-year-old Ellie Simmonds is clearly a dedicated teenager. We reckon she could acheive pretty much anything she put her mind to. The only question is whether she’ll have long enough in the Bake Off tent to perfect her skills.

Name: Ed Bryne

Age: 40

Famous for: being a stand-up comedian and appearing on numerous panel shows

His chances of winning: 4/5

A little bird (otherwise known as Jo Brand) told us that there’s been some underhand goings on in the Bake Off tent, as well as a few attempts to sabotage other contestants’ bakes. And we suspect this cheeky chappy could be easily distracted by japes in the kitchen and Bake Off-style puns.

Yet Ed Bryne could be something of a dark horse. Only time can tell whether the comedian will be able to knuckle down and take his technical challenges seriously…

Name: Kirsty Wark

Age: 57

Famous for: presenting BBC2’s Newsnight

Her chances of winning: 5/5

Well, we do know Kirsty can cook. The 57-year-old presenter reached the final of Celebrity Masterchef in 2011 and even claims to find slaving away at the stove a relaxing experience.

But are those skills transferable to the world breads and buns? The newsnight presenter told us that she bakes every weekend, but then admitted she was too busy to practise before entering the tent. A confusing contradiction there. Is Kirsty really an experienced baker, or is she just trying to intimidate the competition…?

Name: Stephen K Amos

Age: 42

Famous for: being a stand-up comedian

His chances of winning: 3/5

Stand up comic Stephen combined both comedy and cookery at Edinburgh Fringe’s Foodies at the Festival so we know he’s likely to keep spirits high in the tent if nothing else.

However, not all his jaunts in the kitchen have been positive experiences… Though Stephen has confessed to loving cooking, the star appeared on Celebrity Masterchef in 2009 with less than successful results. And if we’re honest, he looks less than happy in this picture. Perhaps his baking apron is already coming apart at the seams…

Name: Jo Brand

Age: 55

Famous for: acting, writing and telling jokes

Her chances of winning: 2/5

When we spoke to Jo Brand she mentioned cakes accidentally falling on the floor, the three-second rule and sticking her head in the mixing bowl to lick it clean. Three attributes that don’t suggest master baker to us. 

However, there’s no denying this lady loves her cake! She even presented a programme titled Jo Brand: Through the Cakehole in the nineties. What’s left to find out is whether her extensive knowledge of baked goods makes her any good at creating them…

Name: Andy Akinwolere

Age: 30

Famous for: presenting Blue Peter between 2006 and 2011

His chances of winning: 3/5

Now if there’s one thing all Blue Peter presenters are good at, it’s creating something out of nothing. Loo roll tubes, washing up liquid bottles… you name it, those clever Blue Peter stars can turn it into something amazing.

However, there’ll be no ‘here’s one I made earlier’ in the Bake Off tent. Will Andy be able to see his culinary creation from start to finish without a helping hand…?

Name: Lorna Watson

Age: 35

Famous for: being one half of a comedy double-act with fellow Bake Off contestant Ingrid Oliver

Her chances of winning: 3/5

Lorna is known to spend a lot of time in her kitchen, but unfortunately the hours are not wiled away slaving over the stove. Instead of proofing dough, she and comedy partner Ingrid Oliver (whom she is competing against in tonight’s Bake Off heat) write their BBC2 comedy sketch show around Lorna’s kitchen table…

Now, Ingrid is known for being something of a foodie, so let’s hope for Lorna’s sake that she’s passed on some of her tips (we have already heard rumours of an uncanny likeness to Sue Perkins in Lorna’s attempt at tonight’s “portrait cakes” challenge.) And she’s no stranger to reality TV, having appeared with Oliver on last year’s Let’s Dance for Sport Relief, performing to Torville and Dean’s Bolero.

Name: Ingrid Oliver

Age: 34

Famous for: being one half of comedy double act Watson & Oliver

Her chances of winning: 5/5

We don’t want to risk spoiling anything here, but early signs suggest that Ms. Oliver’s going to do rather well this week: after all, she’s already responsible for more baking recipes on the BBC Food site than any of her celebrity competitors.

Ingrid’s also a keen gastronaut, using her Twitter feed to dispense tips on everything from food science (“If you eat a cheese panini whilst on the move it has no calories”) to her favourite lunchtime combo (“A scotch egg and some Haribo. A lunch for kings”). And, with Paul Hollywood already having paid her some Twitter-based compliments, it’s probably safe to say that Ingrid’s going to be one to watch in this contest.

Name: Duncan Bannatyne

Age: 63

Famous for: being a Dragons’ Den investor

His chances of winning: 2/5

He made his fortune with a chain of health clubs so Duncan Bannatyne might not be the first person you’d expect to be pushing the cakes and pies – then again, if there were no baked goods, people wouldn’t need to lose weight, right?

In fact, the Dragons’ Den star probably has something of a sweet tooth (not to mention a fighting spirit) having built his first successful business selling 99s during the notorious Glasgow Ice Cream Wars (no, really). Whether that means he can cook remains to be seen…

Name: Simon Reeve


Famous for: presenting BBC nature programmes like Tropic of Cancer and Indian Ocean

His chances of winning: 3/5

Thanks to his frequent treks around the globe, adventurer Simon is no stranger to little-known methods of food preparation, which should stand him in decent stead on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.

Having been taught to fish by the President of Moldova and eaten the likes of grilled squirrel and fried caterpillar in his time, Simon’s not going to be fazed by the prospect of having to learn how to knead the odd bit of dough.

But Simon’s reality TV credentials are nowhere near as good as some of his competitors. Could a lack of talent contest experience stand between him and that coveted Star Baker title?

Name: Martha Kearney

Age: 55

Famous for: being a BBC current affairs presenter

Her chances of winning: 3/5

The hard-nosed BBC news presenter currently fronts Radio 4’s The World at One and was a former host of Newsnight, but what can we deduce of Martha Kearney’s cookery form? Well… fellow Newsnight alumnus and Bake Off contender Kirsty Wark once reached the final of Celebrity MasterChef – so perhaps it rubbed off…? Not buying that one? OK, Kearney is also an amateur beekeeper, so is almost certainly an expert in a range of honey-based confectionery…

Name: Helen Glover

Age: 26

Famous for: getting gold at the London Olympics

Her chances of winning: 4/5

We can’t imagine Olympic standard athletes spend much time eating fondant fancies and the like. And with all that training to do, we wonder where she’d get the time…


But you never know, just like Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, you can’t underestimate these athletes’ determination to be the best…