Cookery expert Prue Leith is tipped to replace Mary Berry on the upcoming series of The Great British Bake-Off, it has been reported. According to the Sun, the 76-year-old is on the shortlist to join original judge Paul Hollywood on the popular series when it moves to Channel 4 later this year. "In cookery circles, she's practically royalty," an insider told the publication. "Both are from similar backgrounds, so hopefully viewers will be accepting and give Prue a chance to win them over."
Prue, who is of South African origin, certainly has many similarities to Mary. She is the same age as the veteran TV star - now 81 - was when Bake Off first aired in 2010; the pair have also both written acclaimed cookery books and have had extensive television careers. The source added: "Following in Mary’s footsteps is a big challenge. But the producers are confident that Prue has all the attributes." HELLO! Online has contacted a Channel 4 representative for comment.
Prue Leith is tipped to replace Mary Berry on The Great British Bake-Off
Other stars rumoured to join the show are TV chefs Michel Roux Jr, Rachel Allen and Frances Atkins. Last year, Paul confirmed he would remain as judge for the next series. His decision was met with controversy, particularly after fellow judge Mary and show hosts Mel and Sue announced their plans to remain with the BBC. Speaking at the Good Food Show last year, he said: "I spoke to Mary about it all the way through and she said 'I would go too if I was your age'."
Last year Mary confirmed that she wouldn't be a judge in the next series
Mary confirmed that she wouldn't be appearing as a judge in the next series of Bake Off in a statement last September, saying: "It has been a privilege and honour to be part of seven years of magic in a tent… My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision." Over the past few months there has been lots of speculation surrounding the positions on the show. More recently Richard Ayoade, who will host the new series of Crystal Maze, has been named as a favourite to be one of the presenters. Other names include Davina McCall as well as double act Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.