Mary Berry quits Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollyood joins C4

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

Paul Hollywood will join The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, he has announced.

Co-host Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins decided not to make the move from the BBC to the rival broadcaster.

But Hollywood, 50, announced: "I am delighted that I will be continuing as a judge when Bake Off moves to Channel 4.

"I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding."

Hollywood said that he could not turn his back on Bake Off.

"Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf," he said.

Mary Berry

Mary Berry

"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.

"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 - the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget ... the squirrels.

"So I am delighted that I will be continuing as a judge when Bake Off moves to Channel 4.

"I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding."

Hollywood did not mention Berry in his statement, which came minutes after she revealed she would remain with the corporation, saying the "decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them".

Richard McKerrow, creative director of Love Productions, said: "We are delighted to confirm that Paul is coming with the tent, ready to encourage, inspire and raise the occasional quizzical eyebrow.

"Paul's presence will ensure the culture of Bake Off continues in the tent as it makes its move to Channel 4.

"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."

Jay Hunt, chief creative officer of Channel 4, said: "Paul really is the star baker - an exceptional talent with a twinkle in his eye. His wit, warmth and wisdom are vital ingredients in Bake Off's success. I'm so delighted he's coming to Channel 4."

Love Productions, which makes Bake Off, said Berry would be missed.

"We respect Mary's decision not to join the next chapter of the Bake Off story," it said in a statement.

"We are immensely grateful to her for all her work and for her recognition today that Love Productions had made a 'unique and brilliant format from day one' with Bake Off.

"The whole family, crew and team that made Bake Off for the BBC, and who will now make it just as brilliantly for C4, will miss her."

The BBC is believed to have offered Love Productions £15 million a year to keep the programme, b ut the amount is reported to have fallen £10 million short.

The BBC said it "made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money".

Channel 4 has signed a three-year agreement with Love Productions.

Berry said : "What a privilege and honour 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.

"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 programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it.

"Farewell to soggy bottoms."

Perkins and Giedroyc released a joint statement last week to reveal they were not moving.

"We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was," they said. "The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 (million) at its peak.

"We've had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps.

"We're not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success."

Fans have welcomed Berry's decision to stay with the BBC and criticised Hollywood's decision to move, saying that the show could be doomed.

Berry, 81, and Hollywood have been judges on the show since it first aired on BBC2 in 2010, alongside presenters Perkins and Giedroyc.

The first Bake Off to be broadcast on Channel 4 will be a celebrity version of the show in 2017, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.

Channel 4 previously said "it would be delighted if the presenters and judges want to come to'' the broadcaster.

The latest series of Bake Off has been attracting around 10 million viewers, showing the appetite for it is as strong as ever.

Around 15 million watched as Nadiya Hussain was crowned the winner in 2015.

Hollywood explained his decision to go with the show to Channel 4 in a tweet, saying he was "staying in the tent with the bakers where I belong".

He added: " I want to thank Mary. I'll miss her but she has made the right decision for her."

Hollywood later said he and Berry remain "great friends", and he explained why he did not mention his co-judge in his original statement.

"When I spoke about my news earlier on, I did not know what Mary was saying about her decision, and more importantly had not been able to speak to her," he said.

"Let there be no doubt: I have loved every minute of my time working with Mary. I have learned so much from her and we are great friends inside and outside the tent.

"That will not change. Knowing her as well as I do, I am sure she has made the right decision for her. I will miss her."