Paul and Mary’s hidden Bake Off messages

The judges's verdicts are a little more polite on the Comic Relief version of Bake Off - but we've translated their sugar-coated words to find out what they're really saying to the celebs ...

Bake Off judges Paul and Mary were both really rather nice to the contestants during last week’s Great Comic Relief Bake Off. They even had positive things to say about Dame Edna’s cookie, which she had to cut out of the baking tray using a pair of pliers.


It’s for charity, of course, and some of the celebs taking part have probably never seen a whisk before, so it makes sense that they’re not getting Hollywood at his most steely-eyed, and that Berry is being even more polite than usual.

The again, if anyone knows about sugar-coating it’s these two. So what did they really mean…?

Flour power

“This is lightening up like mad, Mary,” actress Joanna Lumley said of her biscuit mix. “It’s doing well, you’ve only got to get that flour in and you’re away,” Mary tinkled – from which we think Lummers should gather: “GET THE FLOUR IN NOW OR IT’S RUINED FOREVER.”

That’s the way the cookie… chews?

“We’re looking forward to this, urm, biscuit,” Paul told Dame Edna Everage, who was offering up a chewy (not crumbly, as Mary had assumed) biscuit that she’d been planning to “cook until it’s cooked”. For “looking forward to” read “apprehensive about…”

Westie woes

As singer Lulu planned to shape her biscuit like her own pet Westie dog, Paul pondered, “Why don’t you roll it out and then cut it and then put it in there?” Basically, if Paul ever casually suggests something, it means “Stop what you’re doing and change tack immediately. Immediately.”

Mary tried to make it better by adding, “Don’t you worry, because that’s exactly what I do with my shortbread.” Now, we can’t say with any certainty that this happened (it definitely didn’t), but we like to think she added a “…when I want it to go wrong” under her breath as she walked away. Probably with an evil laugh thrown in. You know, for good measure.

Getting a rise

“Ok, this looks interesting,” Paul said of actress and writer Jennifer Saunders’s French Toast-inspired cookie. His tapping of the outside suggested “interesting” wasn’t necessarily being used in the most positive of ways and perhaps meant, “Is there a dentist on standby?”

Tray troubles

“What a combination,” Mary told Dame Edna when she presented her cookie-cum-baking tray. In other words, “I can definitely taste aluminium.”

“I think the texture is just variable; you might strike lucky and you might not,” Mary continued. Again, we think she means: “Watch out for bits of tray in your slice.”

Telling tips

Ahead of the technical, Mary urged the bakers to “Read your recipe twice”. Which basically means: “This is really blooming complicated. Even I get it wrong half the time and it’s my recipe. I’m looking forward to seeing what you cobble together.”

The informal approach

“The cream is sort of informal…” Mary concluded of Dame Edna’s mismatched tarts, before diving in to have a taste. Paul actually decoded this one for us: “Do we have to?” he laughed, backing away from the table. There’s the Paul we know and love.

A final warning

“Will you perhaps see today that there’s something between the cake and the tin?” Mary urged Dame Edna on day two. A quick spin through the translator and we’d say this means: “I will not, I repeat, will not, be eating any more cake tin, thank you very much.”


The Great Comic Relief Bake Off continues tonight with Gok Wan, Zoella, Jonathan Ross and Abbey Clancy at 8:30pm on BBC1

Read more about Zoella here