Mel And Sue Reveal They Quit The Great British Bake Off On Day One Of The First Series: ‘It Was Not A Kind Show’

Matt Bagwell
·3-min read

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have revealed they came very close to never actually presenting The Great British Bake Off.

The comedy duo hosted the baking competition for seven series before it was poached from the BBC by Channel 4 in 2016.

But in an interview with Radio Times, they admit that it nearly turned out very differently after they quit on the first day of filming.

(L-R) Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (Photo: Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
(L-R) Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (Photo: Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)

“We wanted to make it kind,” Mel says. “That was absolutely our number one priority and on day one we had quite a frank chat with the producers.”

Sue adds: “We resigned, basically. Because it was not a kind show.

“They were pointing cameras in the bakers’ faces and making them cry and saying, ‘Tell us about your dead gran.’ So we had very stiff words about how we wanted to proceed. I think we can say that, now we’re out of it, can’t we?

“We’re quite cheesy and homespun and we just want to have a laugh. Who wants to see people crying? I don’t. Especially if you work in television and you know the mechanisms that have been used to make them cry.”

The pair also open up about their decision to quit the show when it was announced it was moving to Channel 4 - something they found out while watching the news.

Mel and Sue (Photo: Radio Times)
Mel and Sue (Photo: Radio Times)

“It was painful, and we’ve kept our counsel as to the whys and wherefores, and I think there is dignity in that,” Sue says.

“It’s a show about cakes and the moment you get tied up in intense feelings you tell yourself to stop being silly.

“We wish it the best and in return we just wanted them to understand that it would have been hard for us to carry on in those circumstances. There’s no antagonism there. I just think, ‘If you’re going to let us find out that way [from TV], then we’re not really a team, are we?’”

Mel adds: “It was hard, but it was the right time. I think it’s good to leave the party before the sandwiches start to turn up at the corners. I have no problem at all with the fact that the show still goes on.”

Last week, it was announced that Sandi Toksvig – one of Mel and Sue’s replacement hosts on the Channel 4 incarnation of the show – was leaving after three years.

She is set to be replaced by Little Britain star Matt Lucas, who will share presenting duties with existing host Noel Fielding.

Read the full interview with Mel and Sue in the new edition of Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com

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Edd Kimber (winner, 2010)

Fresh from being crowned the winner of the first ever ‘Bake Off’, Ed quit his day job as a debt collector for Yorkshire Bank (which he hated) to follow his baking dream with a job in Raymond Blanc’s restaurant Le Manoir as a pastry chef (what else?). He’s gone on to carve himself a career as a food writer with articles appearing in BBC Good Food magazine and on his blog theboywhobakes.co.uk. In 2011 he published his first cookbook, ran a pop-up bakery in Fortnum & Mason and is also the resident baker on ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’. “Bake Off changed [my life] in the most amazing way. It allowed me to follow my passion and fulfil my dreams in a way I never imagined,” he said recently.
Fresh from being crowned the winner of the first ever ‘Bake Off’, Ed quit his day job as a debt collector for Yorkshire Bank (which he hated) to follow his baking dream with a job in Raymond Blanc’s restaurant Le Manoir as a pastry chef (what else?). He’s gone on to carve himself a career as a food writer with articles appearing in BBC Good Food magazine and on his blog theboywhobakes.co.uk. In 2011 he published his first cookbook, ran a pop-up bakery in Fortnum & Mason and is also the resident baker on ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’. “Bake Off changed [my life] in the most amazing way. It allowed me to follow my passion and fulfil my dreams in a way I never imagined,” he said recently.

Jo Wheatley (winner, 2011)

After winning the second series of ‘Bake Off’, Jo started her own cooking school. Based at her home in Essex, Jo teaches classes on home-baking such as bread making and cupcake decorating. She has also published two cookbooks, ‘A Passion For Cooking’ and ‘Home Baking’ and is a regular food columnist for The Sun and Sainsbury’s Magazine.
After winning the second series of ‘Bake Off’, Jo started her own cooking school. Based at her home in Essex, Jo teaches classes on home-baking such as bread making and cupcake decorating. She has also published two cookbooks, ‘A Passion For Cooking’ and ‘Home Baking’ and is a regular food columnist for The Sun and Sainsbury’s Magazine.

John Whaite (winner, 2012)

John hasn’t stopped working since winning series three. As well as publishing two cookbooks, ‘John Whaites Bakes’ and John Whaites Bakes At Home’, he earned a patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, launched his own online chocolate shop The Hungry Dog Artisan Chocolates and is set to launch his own cookery school, John Whaite’s Kitchen. On top of all that he’s also the resident baker on Lorraine Kelly’s ITV morning show. Phew!
John hasn’t stopped working since winning series three. As well as publishing two cookbooks, ‘John Whaites Bakes’ and John Whaites Bakes At Home’, he earned a patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, launched his own online chocolate shop The Hungry Dog Artisan Chocolates and is set to launch his own cookery school, John Whaite’s Kitchen. On top of all that he’s also the resident baker on Lorraine Kelly’s ITV morning show. Phew!

Frances Quinn (winner, 2013)

Frances, who won the fourth series in 2013, is best remembered for her highly creative designs and has gone on to share her skills at shows and festivals around the UK. Many of her recipes have also appeared in newspapers and magazines and she’s also popped up on many TV and radio shows. Her first book ‘Quinntessential Baking’ is set to be published on 27 August and promises to be "a treasure trove of inspirational ideas to bring a spark of creativity and a teaspoon of wonder into your kitchen."
Frances, who won the fourth series in 2013, is best remembered for her highly creative designs and has gone on to share her skills at shows and festivals around the UK. Many of her recipes have also appeared in newspapers and magazines and she’s also popped up on many TV and radio shows. Her first book ‘Quinntessential Baking’ is set to be published on 27 August and promises to be "a treasure trove of inspirational ideas to bring a spark of creativity and a teaspoon of wonder into your kitchen."

Nancy Birtwhistle (winner, 2014)

Former GP surgery manager Nancy, who was crowned champion at the end of last year’s series, has gone on to launch her own baking website www.nancybirtwhistle.co.uk where she shares receipes with fans. The 60-year-old is also in demand for everything from cookery demonstrations to after-dinner speaking and is currently writing an encyclopedia of baking.
Former GP surgery manager Nancy, who was crowned champion at the end of last year’s series, has gone on to launch her own baking website www.nancybirtwhistle.co.uk where she shares receipes with fans. The 60-year-old is also in demand for everything from cookery demonstrations to after-dinner speaking and is currently writing an encyclopedia of baking.

Mary-Anne Boermans (2011)

Mary-Anne was pipped to the post in the 2011 final but has gone on to launch her own blog timetocookonline.com and is about to opublish her very first book ‘Great British Cakes’ which has already had mary berry’s seal of approval, saying it was ‘brilliantly researched from a true foodie’.
Mary-Anne was pipped to the post in the 2011 final but has gone on to launch her own blog timetocookonline.com and is about to opublish her very first book ‘Great British Cakes’ which has already had mary berry’s seal of approval, saying it was ‘brilliantly researched from a true foodie’.

James Morton (2012)

After coming second on the third series, Glaswegian James has amassed a huge fanbase thanks to his baking blog and regular column in the Sunday Mail newspaper. He’s also had two books published, the first of which, ‘Brilliant Bread’, won the Guild of Food Writers award for Best Cookbook in 2014. Earlier this year he beat Michel Roux Jr to win Radio Times Food Champion but despite his baking success he is still studying to become a doctor at the University of Glasgow.
After coming second on the third series, Glaswegian James has amassed a huge fanbase thanks to his baking blog and regular column in the Sunday Mail newspaper. He’s also had two books published, the first of which, ‘Brilliant Bread’, won the Guild of Food Writers award for Best Cookbook in 2014. Earlier this year he beat Michel Roux Jr to win Radio Times Food Champion but despite his baking success he is still studying to become a doctor at the University of Glasgow.

Ruby Tandoh (2013)

She might not have won the 2013 series but Ruby has just been voted Bake Off’s favourite ever contestant by readers of Radio Times. Since appearing on the show, Ruby has written a book called ‘Crumb’ and recorded her own documentary for Radio 4. She also has her own blog rubyandthekitchen.co.uk and writes a weekly recipe column for The Guardian. In April this year she announced she was gay on Twitter and also hit back at the trolls who suggested there was chemistry between her and judge Paul Hollywood. She tweeted: “For those who thought I fancied Paul Hollywood or that I'd ever bang him to get ahead - JOKE'S ON YOU, YOU MASSIVE SHITTING MISOGYNISTS.”
She might not have won the 2013 series but Ruby has just been voted Bake Off’s favourite ever contestant by readers of Radio Times. Since appearing on the show, Ruby has written a book called ‘Crumb’ and recorded her own documentary for Radio 4. She also has her own blog rubyandthekitchen.co.uk and writes a weekly recipe column for The Guardian. In April this year she announced she was gay on Twitter and also hit back at the trolls who suggested there was chemistry between her and judge Paul Hollywood. She tweeted: “For those who thought I fancied Paul Hollywood or that I'd ever bang him to get ahead - JOKE'S ON YOU, YOU MASSIVE SHITTING MISOGYNISTS.”

Howard Middleton (2013)

Howard proved to be an instant hit with ‘Bake Off’ viewers when he appeared on the 2013 series. The council worker, who provided some of the most memorable moments (remember custard-gate? Or the missing trifle?), is set to publish his first book ‘Delicious Gluten-Free Baking’ in September. Speaking about his time on the show recently, he said: “My greatest memory is having met such a wonderful bunch of people and it is one of those things that continues. It exists outside of that and that is a pleasure really.”
Howard proved to be an instant hit with ‘Bake Off’ viewers when he appeared on the 2013 series. The council worker, who provided some of the most memorable moments (remember custard-gate? Or the missing trifle?), is set to publish his first book ‘Delicious Gluten-Free Baking’ in September. Speaking about his time on the show recently, he said: “My greatest memory is having met such a wonderful bunch of people and it is one of those things that continues. It exists outside of that and that is a pleasure really.”

Martha Collison (2014)

At just 17 years old, Martha was the youngest ever contestant to appear on ‘Bake Off’, but despite her years, she went on to reach the quarter finals. So it’s no surprise that since appearing on the show, Martha has not only launched her own successful baking blog but has also landed herself a column in the Waitrose Weekend newspaper, alongside the likes of Pippa Middleton, Clare Balding, and Mariella Frostrup. On top of this, she spent her half-term break in Cambodia as an ambassador for the Tearfund charity where she visited victims of child trafficking and held baking workshops with them.
At just 17 years old, Martha was the youngest ever contestant to appear on ‘Bake Off’, but despite her years, she went on to reach the quarter finals. So it’s no surprise that since appearing on the show, Martha has not only launched her own successful baking blog but has also landed herself a column in the Waitrose Weekend newspaper, alongside the likes of Pippa Middleton, Clare Balding, and Mariella Frostrup. On top of this, she spent her half-term break in Cambodia as an ambassador for the Tearfund charity where she visited victims of child trafficking and held baking workshops with them.

Richard Burr (2014)

Richard was an early favourite to win last year’s ‘Bake Off’ but despite not walking away with the title he’s gone on to enjoy success outside of his building business. As well as his popular blog, richardburr.london, he regularly appears at food festivals around the country and has just published his first book, ‘B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself’ (see what they did there?).
Richard was an early favourite to win last year’s ‘Bake Off’ but despite not walking away with the title he’s gone on to enjoy success outside of his building business. As well as his popular blog, richardburr.london, he regularly appears at food festivals around the country and has just published his first book, ‘B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself’ (see what they did there?).

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.