The Great British Bake-Off host Sandi Toksvig is leaving the show, Channel 4 announced today. She’s been on the show for three seasons and 51 episodes, co-hosting with Noel Fielding.
The network said they are now searching “for a new face to join Noel, Paul and Prue in the tent. Candidates must have experience of mopping up spills and the occasional tear, making tea and keeping the amateur bakers to time.” (Names being mentioned as possible replacements include past GBBO winners Nadiya Hussain and Candice Brown.)
Sandi will still appear—along with Noel, Paul Hollywood, and Prue Leith—in the The Great Celebrity Bake Off charity event this spring. And Sandi will stay on Channel 4, with a series called The Write Offs, which the network says “looks at the issue of adult literacy.”
In a statement, Sandi explained why she was leaving:
“When stepping down from a job it is quite common for people to say they are doing so in order to spend more time with their family. Unusually I am departing from the Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work. As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all-consuming show.
Spending time with Prue, Paul and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life. These are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.
Bake Off is a wonderful programme which has already proved it can happily withstand a change of hosting personnel. The reason for that, of course, is that the true stars of the show are the bakers themselves. I wish everyone well.”
She makes a good point at the end: When Mary Berry left The Great British Baking Show (as its called in the US), following original hosts Mel and Sue’s exit, I was convinced the show couldn’t survive.
What Sandi has added to GBBO
As a duo, Noel and Sandi have gotten stronger over the three seasons, and have also ramped up both their bits—especially ones that joke about Sandi’s height—and their interruption of the bakers’ work.
But it has, though its most recent season showed that it’s struggling.
Love Productions’ Richard McKerrow said in the press release:
“We’ll always be incredibly grateful to Sandi for becoming one of the hosts of Bake Off when we moved to Channel 4, along with Noel, Paul and Prue. She has contributed hugely to Bake Off over the last three years, with her sharp witty sense of humour and her passionate commitment to the dozens of bakers during her time in the tent. We wish her all the very best on the exciting projects she is currently working on and beyond.”
And Channel 4’s Ian Katz:
“Sandi is a huge part of why Bake Off’s move to Channel 4 has been such a success and we are immensely grateful for her contribution to the show. We will miss her warmth and wit, not to mention her endless willingness to be the butt of jokes about being the least tall person in the Bake Off tent. Fortunately, her unique voice will continue to have an important presence on the Channel with new shows in development – none of which involve cake.”