The Real Reason Mary Berry Left The Great British Bake Off

When The Great British Bake Off first hit the UK airwaves in 2010, it quickly became a mega-hit — in no small part due to sweet, grandmotherly judge Mary Berry. She, along with the more stand-offish Paul Hollywood, consumed about a zillion carbohydrates apiece while tasting, testing, and judging the creations of amateur chefs under that big white tent.

When the show made the move to a new network in 2018, however, there was quite the shakeup amongst cast members — gone were hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, to be replaced with the affable Sandi Toksvig and comedian Noel Fielding. What really got fans in a tizzy, however, was the bombshell that Mary Berry would also be leaving, and Paul Hollywood would henceforth be partnered with Prue Leith.

Why did Mary go? Everyone wanted to know. Could the show have been so cruel as to fire an octogenarian? Or was it, perhaps, a health issue? Fans were relieved to learn that Mary's decision to leave the show — as well as Mel and Sue's choice to do likewise — was actually prompted by loyalty to the BBC once the show moved to Channel 4.

Why Mary Berry chose the network over the show

The BBC is the UK's answer to PBS, the nationwide public television service. Once you're in the BBC family, you're likely to be offered multiple shows with their various channels, which was the case with Mary Berry. Her loyalty has been rewarded, as she's been involved in a number of lifestyle programs such as Mary Berry's Absolute Favorites and Mary Berry's Country House Secrets as well as another BBC cooking competition show called Britain's Best Home Cook (via Decider).

While The Great British Bake Off has continued to do well at its new home on Channel Four, both Mary and the BBC feel that she made the right decision. As BBC One controller Charlotte Moore put it, "Mary is an extraordinary woman, loved and adored by the British public, and the BBC is her natural home."