Mary Berry, Queen of the Victoria Sponge, is one of TV's best-loved celeb chefs thanks to her judging on TV phenomenon The Great British Bake Off – the show that inspired us all to get out the ingredients and revive home-baking.
And on Tuesday the first of a two-part programme about the life of the baker and cookery writer was aired on BBC2, following her footsteps from a “wonderful” childhood in Bath during the Second World War, through her adolescence and adult years.
The Great British Bake Off judge, known for her gentle but firm approach, learnt to cook at school and went to France at the age of 17 to study at Le Cordon Bleu and, after successfully completing her exams, she headed to London in the 1960s.
There, the 77-year-old doyenne of baking – who recently invited HELLO! into her beautiful 19th century, six-bedroom Surrey home – began her career as a demonstrator for the Electricity Board, travelling the country to show housewives how to use the all-new electric cooker, before making her first break when she became a food editor, writing recipes and overseeing foodie photo shoots.
Later, Mary went on to write the first of her many cookbooks.
Calm, blonde and blue-eyed, she has been known for delicious traditional cooking for decades and now has an impressive 70 published cookery books to her name.
Having shared her kitchen secrets for more than half a century, endearing herself to the nation with her quintessentially British ways, now the Queen of Baking lends us a further look into her life.
Part two of The Mary Berry Story will reveal that in 1989 her son William died in a car crash aged 19. He had just popped out in his father’s sports car to buy a newspaper.