Noel Fielding on his Bake Off transformation
Noel Fielding was by no means an obvious choice for The Great British Bake Off, but he soon won us over with his gentle humour, chemistry with co-host SandiToksvig, and inspired foodie shirts. Indeed he’s now just as important to the C4 show as showstopper bakes!
Noel – who rose to fame as part of cult comedy act The Mighty Boosh, and has recently welcomed his first child, a daughter, with his partner, radio presenter Lliana Bird – has won over an army of new fans. So how does it feel to go from niche comedian to one of the most popular shows on British telly?
Chatting outside the famous tent, Noel Fielding, 45, reveals how the Great British Bake Off job has changed his life…
You get so attached to the bakers – it must be tough watching them leave each week?
Noel Fieling: “It is odd because you make friends with them quite quickly. One of them made me cry today! I do get quite upset when they leave and there’s one moment this series that was really traumatic for me.”
Where do you get your inspiration from for your links?
NF: “Sandi and I live together like Morecambe and Wise! That’s not true, but we do test material on Sandi’s daughter, Mary. Bless her, she’s got homework to do and we’re constantly saying, ‘What do you think of this?’ We do avoid puns because [former hosts] Mel and Sue are so good at them; it would be weird to try to out-pun those guys. I did a charity gig with Sue and when we went on stage together it was like a Bake Off supergroup. It was hilarious and weird.”
How did you find going from surreal cult comedy into the Bake Off limelight?
NF: “It’s weird being in a mainstream zone. People who watched The Mighty Boosh knew what I’m like, but usually it was alternative people who liked our stuff. Now it’s cab drivers and shopkeepers who talk to me! People don’t realise they’re being rude, but they say, ‘I thought you were going to ruin Bake Off, but it’s great!’ A lot of kids are watching the series, which is great, and they come up to me in the bakery near where I live.”
What do they say to you?
NF: “The first question is always, ‘What’s Paul Hollywood like?’ I just make stuff up about him, obviously! I used to bake with my grandma when I was a little kid – it’s a nice thing.
Do people expect you to be an expert on baking now?
NF: “They do. People come up to me and ask me to try things, but I don’t do that in the show. We should write it into the next series that we get to taste the food. At the moment Sandi and I are like two dogs at the end of the table at Christmas dinner!”
The Great British Bake Off, featuring Noel Fielding, continues tonight at 8pm on C4.