The alchemy between the Bake Off quartet is something that can’t be replicated

"A format is only as good as the people who present it," says Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham

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And then there was…..one. Mary Berry has announced she won’t accompany The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4, while Paul Hollywood has signed a three-year deal with the broadcaster.

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So Mel and Sue and Mary will go, while Paul stays with the format. And that’s all it is now really, a format. The Great British Bake Off will leave for Channel 4 as a skeleton. True, it might have a couple of major organs left, but its heart will be gone.

A format is only as good as the people who present it – Pointless is a format, but can you imagine it with anyone but Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman? And Bake Off too is (but only until the end of its current and last series on BBC1) the people who give it life – Mel and Sue, Paul and Mary. The alchemy between the quartet is something that can’t be replicated. They are that perfect rise on a sponge cake, that lovely gloss on the chocolate ganache.

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It’s never been Paul Hollywood’s Bake Off, it’s never been Mary Berry’s Bake Off, or Mel and Sue’s Bake Off for that matter. But as a sweet, sweet collaboration, it was peerless. And it’s gone forever.