Home » Prue Leith to step back from Bake Off as new celebrity judge rumoured

Prue Leith to step back from Bake Off as new celebrity judge rumoured

Prue Leith has temporarily taken a “step back” from her Great British Bake Off presenting duties.

The host and restaurateur has been a part of the much-loved baking programme since its move from the BBC to Channel 4 in 2017, replacing the expert role formerly held by Mary Berry.

However, Leith, 84, will not take part in a future celebrity edition of the programme, raising money for cancer charities.

In a statement provided to The Independent, Love Productions, the production company that makes Bake Off and its sister shows, said: “Prue will be joining Paul as usual to judge The Great British Bake Off, but will be stepping back from The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer.

Recorded previously, Leith will still be seen in the forthcoming season of Celebrity Bake Off, launching on Sunday (17 March).

In a comment made to The Independent on Thursday (14 March), Leith said: “I absolutely love working on Bake Off and am looking forward to filming the next series and meeting our new bakers, I am only stepping back from the Celebrity series, which is just a question of the filming commitment involved as we make these shows back to back.”

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is said to be in the running to replace the South African food writer in her absence.

Speaking to The Sun, apparent insiders to the show made further comments on Leith’s intentions to maintain her role on the regular series.

Prue Leith (Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Prue absolutely loves working on Bake Off but filming two series a year can be punishing on top of her other commitments,” the source explained.

“She has already filmed the normal series, which will air this year but she will not appear on the celebrity version.

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“Prue has made it clear she adores the show and would like to come back in 2025.”

Last month, Leith spoke about her fondness for Bake Off and stated that she didn’t find the filming process “boring”, in contrast to former host Sandi Toksvig, who left the show in 2022.

Toksvig quipped in January that she once felt her brain “atrophying” while watching meringues dry on the show, leading to her leaving the co-hosting gig and beginning a research project at the University of Cambridge.

“While she was a presenter, judges like me aren’t on screen all the time,” Leith reasoned in an interview with The Times. “I walk on, eat cake and walk off. I can be busy writing a cookbook the rest of the time.”

Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (LOVE PRODUCTIONS)

Leith also spoke about agreeing with negative takes on her speaking voice as expressed on social media when she first got the hosting role.

“Oh, I hate my voice. It’s too posh,” she said. “When I replaced Mary Berry on Bake Off someone on Twitter said: ‘Oh no, not that posh b***h,’ and I sort of agreed with her. But yes, Americans seem to like it.”

Leith recently began hosting a new cooking TV show with her husband John Playfair, titled Prue Leith’s Cotswolds Kitchen on ITV1 and ITVX.