The Great British Bake Off co-host Sue Perkins has revealed what the show’s judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, are like after the cameras stop rolling.
The 46-year-old, who hosts the popular baking contest with long-time comedy pal Mel Giedroyc, said that while Paul may come across as tough, he is really a sensitive soul, while getting to know Mary has been like becoming friends with royalty.
The Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (Mark Bourdillon/BBC)
“I adore Paul Hollywood,” Sue revealed. “He’s a really sensitive, decent man, which doesn’t always come across on television, but he’s not been picked to judge Bake Off because he’s sensitive or funny, he’s been picked because he knows exactly what’s required in professional baking.
“Mary loves a tipple, but within reason. She’s hardly a drunk. She’s so demure. It’s like having the Queen as a mate. She’s a true lady.”
Sue has been known to put on weight during filming, but her partner, Channel 4 presenter and hypnotherapist Anna Richardson, has helped stem her sugar craving.
“Anna has helped a lot, but weirdly, when I was regressed, I went back to my earliest memory of sugar and it was my mum pulling out a brown book and opening the page to Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake! Forty years later, I’m working with the good lady herself.”
Sue Perkins and Anna Richardson (Yui Mok/PA)
Sue and co-host Mel have been friends and comedy collaborators since they met at Cambridge University in 1988, and in the past they’ve admitted there were periods when they each envied what the other had in life.
Mel’s career took a back seat when she had children and didn’t have Sue’s freedom to pursue other goals. Sue, meanwhile, saw in her friend’s life the family she could never have, after finding out that she had a benign brain tumour that would stop her having children. The presenter discusses her feelings in her upcoming memoir, Spectacles.
“We are able to look at one another’s lives and appreciate them without envy or speculation, but there can’t help but be a certain degree of wistfulness,” she said. “As I get older, I think, ‘What am I for and what is the purpose of life?’
Mel and Sue have been pals since 1988 (Mark Bourdillon/BBC/PA)
“As I see it, it’s not to constantly be on television. I love my job, but there needs to be something that runs parallel to that experience.
“I think about community and family, about whether I should foster or adopt, how I could do more to help those who aren’t as fortunate as I am.”
The final of BBC1’s The Great British Bake Off can be seen on Wednesday at 8pm.