Mary Berry: Bake Off star attacked by bed bugs after BBC picked £25-a-night hostel

Paul Hollywood discusses 'tricky' Bake Off move to Channel 4

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While Dame Mary Berry, 86, might be considered a national treasure to most, the BBC allegedly accidentally booked her in a room full of critters in the early days of filming the baking show. The Great British Bake Off made its debut on BBC Two in 2010 before moving over to BBC One four years on.

We were a travelling show and the team had to put the tent up

Sue Perkins

Two years later, the programme entered a heated bidding war with Channel 4, who ended up acquiring the rights to bring the show over to their broadcaster instead. 

Paul is the only judge who has been part of the show since its original run. 

Former host Sue Perkins has been reflecting on her early years on Bake Off, telling The Sun how difficult things were in the beginning, long before the series had become a nationwide hit. 

Supposedly, things were bad enough that the BBC weren’t spending a lot of money on the judges’ accommodation during production, which allegedly left Mary sleeping in a cheap hostel filled with bed bugs. 

“Bake Off can only be seen now through the prism of huge success,” Sue gushed. 

“But we were there at its inception, when Barry’s burger vans were the in-house catering when we were in a youth hostel at £25 a night — and Mary Berry got bed bugs.

“We were a travelling show and the team had to put the tent up.”

The BBC declined to comment when approached by 

Mel Giedroyc and Sue originally presented Bake Off, while the judges consisted of Paul and Mary. 

Since her exit from the programme, Sue believes that Bake Off has taken a massive shift from what it was initially set out to do.

She quipped that what originally started as an education-based format is now a reality battle of talent, which is just as thrilling to watch, yet there’s no denying that there have been some significant changes since Bake Off first aired just over a decade ago.

“We’d spend 16 or 17 hours a day interviewing people in the tent who were Anglo Saxon experts about why they’d put rabbits feet in a sponge in the 12th Century,” Sue added.

“But it evolved hugely from the intense documentary about foodstuffs into the beloved programme it is now.

“We had a make-up artist who painted a mulberry, purple sort of colour lipstick on me in one series.”

Since Sue’s departure, there’s been a handful of changes to the cooking contest.

Most recently, comedian and actor Matt Lucas took over Sandi Toksvig’s duties as the show’s newest co-presenter, alongside Noel Fielding. 

Giuseppe Dell’Anno became the latest baker to win the Channel 4 competition show in November, with the final accumulating over 8 million viewers for the TV broadcaster. 

Following his win, the 45-year-old took to Instagram to express his delight in finally getting to share the news with fans, seeing that Bake Off is filmed weeks ahead of time. This meant that Giuseppe would have had to keep the announcement a secret until the final had aired on telly.

“I could have never gone through this exhilarating but also draining adventure without the support of my wife, my fellow bakers and the constant support of the production team!” he shared.

“Thank you all out there for reaching out and showering me with love! I will be forever grateful!”

The Great British Bake Off will return to Channel 4 for season 13 in late 2022. 

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