QUITTING the Great British Bake Off following its departure from the BBC was not a difficult choice, Mary Berry told an audience in Henley today.
The food writer and television presenter, who had been a judge on the show since it launched in 2010, said she wished to remain loyal to the corporation because of the support it had shown her over the years.
Berry, 81, was speaking at a charity event at Phyllis Court Club which about 200 members attended. She was interviewed for an hour by journalist Tom Fort before taking questions from the audience.
She stayed behind for almost an hour afterwards to sign copies of her latest book Mary Berry’s Family Sunday Lunches and posed for photographs with guests.
Proceeds from the morning, which are yet to be counted, will be divided between the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed, Henley’s community first responders and Henley youth and community project Nomad.
Mr Fort asked why she decided to quit Great British Bake Off after it was announced the programme would move to Channel 4 next year.
She said: “It wasn’t a difficult decision. The programme has been going for seven years and was introduced by the BBC, who have given us all something wonderful. I feel very loyal to them as they are ultimately you and me.
“I’ve had such fun with it and everybody I’ve worked with has been wonderful, from the people who develop the recipes to the camera crew. I’ve become terribly attached to them and hope to work with them again.”
Berry said it would be “different” on another channel but she was sure the quality would remain high and wished her fellow judge Paul Hollywood, who is staying with the programme, every success.
Berry, who lives near High Wycombe and is married with grandchildren, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with how successful the programme has been. Family life is terribly important to me and I think it’s good family viewing.
“Sunday lunch has largely gone by the board these days and families rarely sit down to eat together but they will crowd around the television to watch Great British Bake Off.
“It has really united people and it’s something to talk at work or school the next day. It has also got children interested in baking.”