Prue Leith has set herself a tough challenge – she wants her time on The Great British Bake Off to match or surpass that of her beloved predecessor Mary Berry.
The 79-year-old chef and cookery writer – who took over from Berry as Paul Hollywood’s co-judge in 2016 when the programme moved from the BBC to Channel 4 – is aiming to continue on Bake Off for at least the same amount of time, meaning she would still be doing it in 2023.
“My great ambition is to at least equal Mary Berry,” Leith told the Mirror.
“She did seven years, and she started at the same age that I started which was 76, so I’ll have to go on like she did until she was 83 or whatever.”
Berry choose to leave the hugely popular series alongside co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, explaining that she wanted to remain “loyal” to the BBC.
In a statement at the time, the 84-year-old said, “It has been a privilege and honour to be part of seven years of magic in a tent – The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family – Paul, Mel and Sue – have given me so much joy and laughter.
“My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision.”
However, Leith, who joined remaining judge Paul Hollywood in assessing Britain’s best amateur bakers, has been a popular addition – with the show regularly pulling in a consolidated audience (including catch-up viewing) of over nine million viewers since the move to Channel 4.
While we’ll have to wait until autumn time to we see the tenth run of the main show, C4 recently aired a series of celebrity specials for Stand Up to Cancer.
The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 later this year
The Great British Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer is available to watch on All4