Nick Hewer on taking part

Stand by for kitchen calamities and soggy bottoms, as Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding invite a fresh line-up of celebrities – including Countdown host Nick Hewer – into The Great Celebrity British Bake Off tent for five special episodes.

Raising dough for C4 charity appeal, Stand Up To Cancer, famous faces including Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher, comedians Harry Hill and Lee Mack and actor Martin Kemp will offer up their best bakes for scrutiny by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Here, Countdown host Nick Hewer, 74, tells TV Times why taking part in The Great Celebrity British Bake Off was a terrifying idea…

Do you consider yourself one of life’s natural bakers, Nick?

“No, I’m not good in the kitchen at all and I’m not sure Bake Off will change that. I can make a very good tomato omelette and cook a decent leg of lamb, but I’ve never cooked anything else. Baking is a bit of a mystery to me – I agreed to do the show as it’s for charity and I was quite blasé about it, but when I was there with my pinny on, it was terrifying. It’s not for the faint-hearted!”

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So the Bake Off experience was tougher than you expected?

“Yes, it was very hard work, leaning over a hot stove all day! I did actually have quite a lot of problems on one particular bake – I had five goes at it. One of the key problems was spotting the decimal point on the scales. I thought I had measured four ounces of butter, I promptly put it in the bowl and it was immediately quite full. How do I know what four ounces of butter looks like? It still doesn’t excuse the fact I used 25 eggs at one stage…”

Oh dear! Why did this charity particularly appeal to you?

“I’m a patron of a pancreatic cancer charity so I thought: ‘This will be great, some money might trickle down to them and they’ll be able to find an early diagnosis test.’”

Were you proud of any of your bakes from the show?

“The signature dish was scones, which was quite fun because I introduced England to Switzerland, making savoury scones with Gruyère and Wiltshire cheese. It gave them an interesting little taste.”

What can you tell us about the bakers you were up against?

“I’m wired up to a battery and if I tell you anything about the other celebrities, I get a shock! But there was one person who was just amazing; the creativity that they use in their day job came storming through in their baking.”

How did you fare with tough judges Paul and Prue?

“Their comments were very technical… Paul is a very skilled man, a nice man actually, but Prue is more aloof and daunting – she was more disapproving than Paul. Sandi and Noel were delightful.”

Have you ever cooked for your old Apprentice co-star, Lord Sugar?

“No, although his wife told me he’s quite a good cook and apparently he enjoys it. Odd, isn’t it?”

Finally, who would you prefer to be grilled by – Alan or Prue?

“I’d take Prue. Mind you, Prue can be pretty icy!”

The Great Celebrity Bake Off starts on C4 next Tuesday at 8.00pm.

Main pic credit: James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock