What makes Mel and Sue’s partnership extra special?

The former Bake Off hosts are reuniting with Mary Berry for a BBC1 Christmas special. But what are the magic ingredients in their double act?

Mel and Sue, Nicky Johnston, SL

Re-wind back to 1988. The year of the very first Red Nose Day…

Red Nose Day, Getty, SL
Red Nose Day, Getty, SL

When Sky News launched, This Morning began on ITV and Anita Dobson made her final appearance in EastEnders.

1988 was a special year because it brought together Cambridge university students Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

Mel and Sue, Nicky Johnston, SL
Mel and Sue, Nicky Johnston, SL

The pair were both members of Footlights and when they graduated Mel was rejected from every drama school she applied for. So she wrote Sue a letter…

mel-sue-letter

They began writing for Radio 4’s Weekending and then French and Saunders before landing their big break on Channel 4’s Light Lunch.

But it was The Great British Bake Off that turned them into national treasures – even if neither thought it would be a hit when they first signed on…

Neither Sue nor I thought it would work – because it didn’t, on paper. A show about baking? What?!
Mel Giedroyc

But work it did, largely thanks to the pair’s pun-tastic partnership.

schichttorte-1
schichtortte-2
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And Bake Off went on to win numerous awards.

The Great British Bake Off, BBC Pictures, SL
The Great British Bake Off, BBC Pictures, SL

So, what is it that makes Mel and Sue extra special? The magic ingredient that puts them a cut above the rest?

Well to start with, they’re actually great friends.

It’s like a marriage, actually
Sue Perkins

And no one is better at playing silly…

The Great British Bake Off, BBC Pictures, SL
The Great British Bake Off, BBC Pictures, SL

But don’t let their bravado fool you; there is a lot of thought behind this partnership. And intelligence. Buckets of it.

The Great British Bake Off, BBC, SL
The Great British Bake Off, BBC, SL

And while they play up to their personas – Mel as the “ditzy one” with Sue harsher, “more ironic and sardonic”, they stay true to who they are.

It’s important we aren’t made to wear 6in heels. It’s important we don’t look as if we’re from another planet.
Mel Giedroyc

When times are rough, they know just how to make it better. With a hug…

The Great British Bake Off, BBC, SL
The Great British Bake Off, BBC, SL

…a wise word…

Every second spent crying is a second less showing them how good you are at baking.
Sue Perkins

Or a wiggle.

Their quick wit is among the best on TV…

Mary: Why shouldn’t a bun be round?
Mel: My buns are round. Always.

And when the opportunity to stuff their mouths with cake arises, they do what we would all do.

Every.

Single.

Time.

Mary, Mel and Sue’s Big Christmas Thank You airs on Sunday 24th December at 7pm on BBC1

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