Alison Hammond’s greatest moments, from toppling sailors to cracking up Harrison Ford

Alison Hammond’s greatest moments, from toppling sailors to cracking up Harrison Ford

Alison Hammond’s role as the new co-host of The Great British Bake Off is just, if you’ll pardon the pun, the icing on the cake of a 21-year screen career, which has been filled with some of the most hilarious and surreal moments ever committed to television.

The Birmingham-born star has, over the decades, knocked a sailor into the Thames, had Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling in fits of giggles, and joined forces with Ainsley Harriott to terrorise a woman called Jill in her living room.

Those are just a few of the chaotic moments Hammond has given us, which you can read about below, along with many more…

The time she nearly got arrested in Italy

During a 2019 segment for This Morning in which she was promoting a £300,000 cash prize competition – filmed in Pisa, Italy, for reasons I’m struggling to decipher – Hammond got in a spot of trouble with the Italian police. As a stern officer tried to shoo Hammond and the cameras away, the presenter could be seen panicking.

“Oh my gosh,” she told viewers. “We haven’t got a permit. Listen guys, we’re in Pisa, we’re not allowed to be here… I’m gonna get arrested. I love you loads! Laters!” As the camera retreated, she could be heard telling officers: “I’m so sorry. Buongiorno. Please.” A later segment showed her hiding in her hotel room, wearing large sunglasses and a blanket wrapped around her head as she told the camera: “My holiday has turned into The Bourne Identity.

Her marriage to The Rock

In 2017, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made Hammond the happiest woman alive when he “proposed” to her on This Morning. That December, he “married” her on the show, with Kevin Hart officiating the wedding. The whole scene was like a fever dream, with Johnson looking increasingly worried, and Hammond screaming “YES” before Hart could read out her husband-to-be’s whole name. The skit continued into 2019, with a clip of Hammond sobbing into a box of popcorn over their devastating divorce.

The sailor incident

In 2018, Hammond tried her hand at presenting the weather. Not with a green screen like most people to do, obviously, but by jumping around on a floating weather map of the UK, that had been installed on the Thames. She caused quite the splash when she made the jump from Scotland to Northern Ireland, and ended up shoving a topless sailor into the river. Luckily, he could swim.

When she interviewed a tree

Hammond met a 1,000-year-old tree in 2020, which was in the running for European Tree of the Year. She decided, of course, to interview it. “First of all, you are up for this amazing prestigious title, how do you feel?” she said. A tree whisperer, who was luckily on hand, replied: “It feels very exciting. It’s an honour to be recognised in this way.” Hammond then proceeded to stroke the tree and grill it on whether it thought it had a good chance of winning and whether other trees were jealous of it.

On the lash with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling

Harrison Ford has become known for appearing grumpy while promoting his movies. Earlier this year, he dismissed speculation that it’s because he has social anxiety, saying: “No. I don’t have a social anxiety disorder. I have an abhorrence of boring situations.” He was definitely not bored in this 2017 interview with Hammond, who had him and Ryan Gosling drinking whiskey and dissolving into helpless laughter throughout.

The time she lost her oven door on Bake Off

Hammond’s job as GBBO host won’t be her first time in the tent. She appeared as a celebrity contestant on the Stand Up for Cancer special in 2020. It was a memorable appearance, of course. She declared herself a “natural baker” and noted numerous times how smoothly things were going for her, that was, until the door of her oven disappeared. “Where’s the door gone?” she asked, bewildered, until she realised the fancy ovens on Bake Off have doors that slide into a drawer underneath.

Poor Jill

On Mother’s Day 2018, a woman called Jill in Cheshire got the shock of her life. She was sitting on the sofa watching This Morning when Alison Hammond burst into her living room to surprise her with chocolates, flowers and a free TV. If that wasn’t enough, Ainsley Harriott joined the party. “Why hello Jill!” he announced, dancing towards her as he held out a saucepan. Just perfect.

When she totally lost it over Barry Humphries congratulating Dermot O’Leary for coming out as gay

During an interview on This Morning in 2021, veteran comedian Barry Humphries mistook Dermot O’Leary for Phillip Schofield and congratulated him for “bravely” coming out. O’Leary managed to hold it together, letting out a small giggle, but Hammond did not. She began howling with laughter, with Humphries completely baffled by her response to what he probably just thought was a lovely thing to say.

Her short, destructive stint on Big Brother

Hammond was first beamed into people’s living rooms as a contestant on the 2002 series of Big Brother. While on the show, she managed to break two chairs, a bed, a lounger and a table. It’s very hard not to laugh at footage of that final piece of furniture meeting its demise, especially the bit when she told Big Brother: “I can probably bend it back.” She was voted out on day 15.

The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 later this year.