Sue Perkins’ loaf affair with baking

Undated BBC Handout Photo from The Great British Bake Off. Pictured: Sue Perkins. See PA Feature TV Perkins. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/BBC/Love Productions. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Varey. WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.

Undated BBC Handout Photo from The Great British Bake Off. Pictured: Sue Perkins. See PA Feature TV Perkins. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/BBC/Love Productions. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Varey. WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.

0
Have your say

After four years presenting The Great British Bake Off, Sue Perkins has picked up some pretty decent kitchen skills.

So much so that notoriously hard-to-impress judge Paul Hollywood - who knows a good crumb from a soggy bottom - has termed her “a really good baker”.

Undated BBC Handout Photo from The Great British Bake Off. Pictured: Sue Perkins, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc. See PA Feature TV Perkins. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/BBC/Love Productions. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Varey. WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval fr

Undated BBC Handout Photo from The Great British Bake Off. Pictured: Sue Perkins, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc. See PA Feature TV Perkins. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/BBC/Love Productions. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Varey. WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval fr

“I wouldn’t say I was any good at it, but it’s very sweet of Paul to say I’m ok,” says the bespectacled comedian, who returned with co-host Mel Giedroyc for series five this month.

“I’m not much of a cake-maker, because I don’t have kids, and because I think if you make a cake then you eat it,” she adds, revealing that the weight can “pack on” during Bake Off.

“I do love making bread though, I think it’s an amazing thing to get into. It’s a stress-reliever, it’s fun and I just absolutely love it.”

Perkins isn’t the only one to have been bitten by the baking bug. The show, which first aired in August 2010, has led to a major revival in cake, bun and biscuit-making, and made stars of bread guru Hollywood and food writer Mary Berry.

More than nine million of us tuned in to see Frances Quinn crowned winner of series four, and this year the contest - which is moving from BBC Two to BBC One - will also have a spin-off programme, An Extra Slice, hosted by Jo Brand.

London-born Perkins, 44, is modest about the role she and Giedroyc have played in the show’s success (she’s previously described it as “an hour of innuendo presented by middle-aged women”).

But when the pressure gets too much in the Bake Off tent, and you could cut the tension with a palette knife, the pair are always on hand to provide welcome light relief and console the contestants.

Admittedly, the ice-breaking does usually come in the form of a smutty pun or a wink at a rude-shaped bake...

“I’ve sort of cultivated this sort of, ‘Ooh look at me, I’ve got my glasses on, let’s try and pretend that I’m clever’,” says Perkins.

“Actually, I’m just a buffoon child wrapped in a 40-something-year-old’s body. Really contrived puns, terrible jokes, people falling over, an exquisitely timed fart; these are things that will make me just roar with laughter.”

Over the years, Perkins has befriended the home economists who test the technical challenge recipes on Bake Off (“they’re my mates”), and has gleaned plenty of baking tips from them.

“I will help them make stuff and if they’re doing demonstrations, I’ll make some of the bread,” she adds.

“I had quite a slow day on Bake Off once and we were having Comic Relief winners to come and have tea with us, and I made pretty much the whole tea myself - the scones and muffins and cakes and things. I was quite pleased with that.”

It’s just as well Perkins is so interested in food, as many of her presenting gigs have involved it.

She and Giedroyc, who met at Cambridge University’s Footlights performing arts society, rose to TV prominence on the Channel 4 daytime show Light Lunch, in which each episode saw a top chef cook lunch for the duo and some famous guests. Along with stints on Celebrity MasterChef and Celebrity Big Brother, Perkins also co-presented the The Supersizers Eat... food history shows with acclaimed restaurant critic Giles Coren.

“I suppose over the years I’ve kind of learnt by default what goes with what and how you should know when something’s done, and I’m quite lucky, I’ve been cooked for by amazing people,” she admits.

As well as the new series of Bake Off, Perkins is also the host of new More4 show Cooks’ Questions, in which three top chefs demonstrate their skills and answer questions from a studio audience of “fervent foodies”.

“I think the show shows how many answers there are to one simple question, like how to roast a chicken,” says Perkins.