Mary Berry has praised Prue Leith as “just the person” to take over her role as judge on The Great British Bake Off, saying that both her culinary expertise and her fairness shone through in her first few weeks in the job.
The much-loved TV chef said she was pleased with the new casting decision and admitted that she would have been upset by a successor she did not approve of.
She told the Press Association: “(Leith is) just the person to do it. She knows that.
“I suppose if they’d chosen somebody who I knew couldn’t do the job and hadn’t the experience, I would have been sad.
“But I’m certainly not with Prue, she knows how to judge. She’s got the knowledge and she’s fair. That’s all we ask.”
The 82-year-old stepped down from the programme, along with former presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, when it moved from its original BBC home to Channel 4 last year.
She said that she was very happy to still be working with the BBC and added of her Bake Off job: “I’ve done it for 10 years and for various reasons I didn’t go.”
While she said she had not been in regular contact with former co-judge and continuing show host Paul Hollywood, she joked: “I haven’t seen Paul but we’ve done a lot together and I’d be very happy if he walked in the door right now.
“We’d have some good fun and he’d be a bit cheeky I expect and say ‘hello Bezza!’.”
Berry has been working through a packed schedule since leaving the hit baking show, with her latest book Mary’s Household Tips & Tricks hitting shelves on Thursday and a number of new programmes in the making.
She will also return to the judge’s seat for upcoming BBC kitchen-based content Britain’s Best Cook, alongside Claudia Winkleman as presenter.
“Why should I retire?” she said. “My husband says you should just do what you enjoy. He’s always pleased to see me when I’m not working. No, it works well as it is.”