As everyone’s favourite baking show, The Great British Bake Off, returns to BBC1 for its sixth series on Wednesday, August 6, judge Mary Berry tells us what tasty treats are in store…
What can you tell us about the bakers in this series of The Great British Bake Off?
“These 12 bakers are from all over the country and, this year, they’ve all been focused on doing their own thing, so it’s taken them a while to bond. In the past, the bakers would always look around to see what others were doing – this time each baker went for it on their own.”
Would you say the bakers are more ambitious this year?
“They’re certainly much more adventurous; they’re finding different flavours on the internet and using them in their bakes. They’ve now watched the previous five series of Bake Off and know that they’ve really got to stretch themselves. The standard this year is amazing.”
Were you surprised by the ‘bin-gate’ scandal that erupted, after Iain Watters threw away his melted dessert that had been removed from the freezer by fellow baker Diana Beard?
“The whole thing was ridiculous! Iain’s Baked Alaska was only out of the freezer for about 40 seconds – both bakers will tell you it was just a huge mistake that got blown out of all proportion. Diana didn’t appear in the rest of the series, not because of the incident, but because she’d had a fall and had lost her sense of taste and smell.”
Have your own tastebuds changed in your years of judging the Bake Off?
“Well, I always think wouldn’t it be a joy to have more savoury stuff? I really enjoy it when we do miniature things because it really shows the bakers’ skills. And to have a complete thing to eat is just perfect!”
Do you still enjoy working with fellow judge Paul Hollywood, and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins?
“Myself, Paul, Mel and Sue are like a family. Paul always looks after me, and vice versa. In the first series, I got his sleeves rolled up and looking nicer. Look how smart he is now – he scrubs up very well!”
How do you feel about beating J-Lo in a recent poll of 100 Sexiest Women?
“Well, if it’s anything to do with my clothing, all I’m doing is keeping nice and warm as the Bake Off tent can often be freezing. When my husband heard about that poll, he laughed himself silly!”
You’re so busy with Bake Off and your other show Absolute Favourites – is there anything else you’d like to do?
“I can honestly say the thing I love most is the Bake Off and that always comes first – it’s a show that grans, mums, dads and kids can enjoy, knowing there’s no bad language and that they’ll learn something. I have no other burning ambitions because I really enjoy what I’m doing.”