Mel and Sue may be leaving the Great British Bake Off, but it won't be with a whimper, as they reveal when chatting about public nudity, cake detox and their own showstoppers
Mediating between the contestants and judges, Mel and Sue are the Great British Bake Off (BBC1, Wednesdays) tent’s perfect ringmasters. Soothing the bakers’ frayed nerves as they flit around the workbenches, they also inject the show’s vital extra ingredient, humour, into proceedings. Daft as brushes, they always seem to be having a blast.
As the bakers go back to nature for botanicals week, Mel and Sue talk fantasy showstoppers, public nudity and cracks…
What do you think of the bakers this year, ladies?
Mel: “They’re a very, very nice bunch of people. So supportive of each other. We hope they don’t stay too supportive…”
Sue: “…as that makes our job a bit defunct! It’s lovely that they’ve all bonded so well with each other, but they don’t need us when they’re so gelled. It’s when the cracks show they need us most.”
Did you just say cracks?
Sue: “Oh stop. The hardest thing is resting double entendres after six years. Now we go for the single entendre, there’s no nuance now.”
Mel: “I’ve started recycling mine from previous series.”
How are your baking skills this year?
Mel: “For the first time I’ve actually done some! I made a pineapple upside-down sponge, which was a bit of a hit with the crew. And Sue showed me how to make soda bread.”
Sue: “I absolutely love making bread. It’s an amazing thing to get into – fun and a stress-reliever.”
What fantasy showstopper would you bake for Mary and Paul?
Mel: “I’d recreate the Leatherhead Leisure Centre – to include chocolate, biscuit and some dried cherries.”
Sue: “I’d like to make something based on Paul’s ego – so it would have to be something very big – then I’d donate it to a worthwhile cause.”
You taste cake for 10 weeks. Do you need to go on a detox from all things sweet after the final?
Mel: “Nah. I go mad in the last few episodes of the show as I worry I might not see cake for a while.”
Sue: “Cake detox doesn’t work for me at all. I eat a light coverage of cakes throughout the year so my body doesn’t go into cake breakdown. Then it’s ready every April for when we start filming.”
It’s probably fair to say the judges would beat you in a baking contest. What competition would you win against Mary & Paul?
Sue: “Public nudity. I excel at it.”
Mel: “It would have to be netball. No, let me think – whist. We’ve all been playing together in the green room in between filming and I reckon we could beat Mary and Paul hands down.”
*This interview was conducted before Mel and Sue announced they wouldn’t host Bake Off next year, following its move to Channel 4
Interview by Rebecca Fletcher