Introducing The Great British Bake Off…

What is it? Who's in it? And why is Paralympian Ellie Simmonds such a fan?

What is it? The thinking person’s talent show, in which amateur bakers compete for the accolade of being Britain’s best. It’s genteel and awfully British but, although there’s strictly no back-stabbing, the competition is gripping. The third series was the best ever


Who’s in it? Presented by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judged by floury sex god Paul Hollywood and the irrepressibly twinkly Mary Berry

Where is it? BBC2

Highlight? The grand final, in which erratic law student John Whaite – who had seemed to have no chance of winning a few weeks before – suddenly found his form and stormed to victory with a brilliant chocolate cake

Why I love Bake Off – Parlaympic gold medalist Ellie Simmonds

Why do you love Great British Bake Off? I’m such a big fan of Bake Off – I’ve watched every series – so when I was asked to do Comic Relief Bake Off I jumped at the chance: ‘Oh my gosh, yes! Any day! I’d love to!’ I’ve got to do some amazing things since the Games but that was one of the best.

Are you a keen baker yourself? Several months before the Games I stopped baking because it was getting quite fattening, but the excess comes off quite naturally before a competition because you’re training so hard and eating a balanced diet. The rest of the time I’m the team baker. There are nine people in our squad and I always bake for birthdays or when we have a team bonding session. My signature dish is carrot and walnut muffins, although I’m probably most proud of my caramel shortcakes – just remembering them makes my mouth water.


What’s your favourite cake? Do you know those chocolate cakes shaped like caterpillars you get in supermarkets? That’s what I always wanted for my birthday – much more exciting than a homemade cake – and I would still choose it now. I used to bagsy the head and feet because they were the most chocolatey parts. But if I could only eat one cake from now on? That’s a hard one. I like every cake – apart from fruitcake, because I don’t like raisins. It would probably be a chocolate cake. Or a vanilla sponge. Or a lemon drizzle…