Everyone’s favourite baking show is already set to look pretty different when its new incarnation lands later this year; where once Mel and Sue reigned supreme, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding will be shaking things up in the The Great British Bake Off marquee of (pastry) dreams.
However, while we now know Mary Berry has been replaced by Prue Leith, the judging line-up could have looked pretty different, according to chef Gordon Ramsay, who says that he was initially approached to take a spot next to GBBO original Paul Hollywood.
But he turned it down, even going so far as to brand the opportunity of appearing on the new Channel 4 version of the show as “sloppy seconds.”
Being interviewed for The Telegraph to promote his new programme, Culinary Genius, he was asked if he was going, well, “soft” – given a daytime cookery competition might be a slight departure from his usual throw-a-pan-across-the-kitchen-followed-by-shouted-expletives style seen in the likes of Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares.
He responds: “F***, no! Tell me if I am, because I’ll get the f*** out of here. I’ll go back to Channel Four. They did ask me for Bake Off, anyway…”
He continues: “I’m not very good at sloppy seconds.
“I don’t want to be the male version of Mary Berry. I’m 30 years younger and more wrinkly than her anyway.
“I think [as] with Top Gear, we have an asset that is a crown jewel within a network. 14.5 million [viewers]: there will never be another cookery show with that number, ever again.”
GBBO was sold by Love Productions and is moving from BBC1 to Channel 4 later this year, with most of the big names deciding to ditch the revamped version in favour of other projects.
And Ramsay, 50, says the format shouldn’t have been messed with, telling the paper: “For me, Bake Off is like the Queen: it’s something to be respected, listened to and cared for. Not sold off.”
Watch: Goodbye GBBO as we know it...
Images: Rex Features