Great British Bake Off's Jane Beedle Explains How She Almost Wasn't On The Show - Exclusive

Jane Beedle does not take for granted how much her life has changed since her appearance on Season 7 of "The Great British Bake Off" and her subsequent win on "The Great Christmas Bake Off." During an exclusive interview with Mashed, Beedle expressed her amazement at the lasting effects, saying if not for "Bake Off" then, "I wouldn't be doing things like this [interview] ... I've had back-to-back interviews on the radio. I mean, nobody would normally want to speak to some 66-year-old baker but that she'd been on 'Bake Off.' ... And to have the opportunity to do things that you would never as a normal person would have the opportunity to do. I think it's incredibly special."

And it's all the more special because Beedle almost didn't make it onto the show. She had never once considered applying before the idea was brought up to her. "It was a friend of mine really," Beedle said. "I didn't particularly watch it. I used to run a little gardening business with a friend of mine. We used to go around and mow lawns and sweep up leaves and things. [...] So I would always bring various bakes along to keep her going mid-morning and she [introduced] 'Bake Off' and encouraged me to take part. So it took me a while and I applied for it." Initially, Beedle applied to Series 4 but was turned down. "And then I applied again," Beedle said. "I didn't apply for the next one, but then I applied for Series 6 and got a little bit further in the process. And then with Series 7, I got my way through."

Why Jane Beedle wanted to go on 'Bake Off'

Initially, Jane Beedle was only vaguely familiar with "Bake Off" for the first several years of the show's existence. But when her friend turned her onto the program, she was inspired to try for it soon after. Why? "Apart from [my friend] Harriet nagging me all the time to keep applying, I just wanted to be part of the fun!" Beedle said. "It just looked so much fun to be part of. Then I reached ripe old age and I thought, well, there's no point in sitting back and wishing you do these things. You got to give it a go. So that's what I did. I just wanted to be part of the fun."

And as it turns out, it was great fun. "Our presenters then were Mel and Sue who were hilarious," Beedle said. Sure, the hours could be long, often starting at 6 a.m. and running until after 9 in the evening, but it was all so worth the effort for Beedle and her fellow bakers. "It's quite tiring, but I mean, it is huge fun, a lot of laughing," she said. "And the camaraderie was exactly as you see it — there's probably even more helping each other than you see. And we were told — and I've talked to bakers from previous series as well — pretty much told: 'You must remember it's competition, [don't] help each other quite so much!' But we all bond so quickly and it's a very intense experience and you can't let somebody struggle if you can possibly help."

New episodes of "The Great British Bake Off" are now airing on Netflix. You can follow along with Jane Beedle's latest baking adventures by following her on Instagram.