Readers, we have some bad news. In the dramatic move away from the BBC to Channel 4, The Great British Bake Off has lost another one of its pantry staples: the inimitable Mary Berry. The prolific author, baking legend, and exacting judge of The Great British Bake Off has called it quits. Berry's reasons for leaving echo those of hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, who were protesting the move from the BBC to Channel 4. "What a privilege and honor it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent — The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family — Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter," Berry said in a statement issued through the BBC. "My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision. I wish the program, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms.”
One man, however, will stick around. Berry's co-judge Paul Hollywood will stay with The Great British Bake Off for at least another three seasons. "The Great British Bake Off has brought baking to the nation and we’ve seen people from all walks of life and backgrounds experience the highs and lows of competition, and more importantly helping each other," Hollywood said in a statement. "It’s been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn’t turn my back on all that."
Much of the drama surrounding the move was reportedly financial. The Channel 4 deal is reportedly worth an estimated $99 million; the BBC was unable to keep the show after it and Love Productions, which produces GBBO, failed to reach an agreement. Love Productions, meanwhile, will hold onto Hollywood for all he's worth, as he's the sole recognizable face left of the cast. (And that probably means quite a lot!)
"Paul’s presence will ensure the culture of Bake Off continues in the tent as it makes its move to Channel 4," head of Love Productions Richard McKerrow said. "We want to reiterate to Bake Off fans that the show they love will remain wholly familiar, and that Channel 4 is a great place to make our show. Bake Off will be produced by the same team, in the same tent, with the same recipe.”
Meanwhile, the BBC suggests that there will be other programming with Mary Berry in the future. "Mary is an extraordinary woman, loved and adored by the British public, and the BBC is her natural home. I've been very lucky to have had the pleasure of working with Mary over the last seven years and I'm so pleased that relationship will continue," said Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content. "She is an inspiration to generations, a real icon and I can't wait to cook up more unmissable shows with her in the future."