Host of stars 'turned down' Great British Bake Off presenting role

Telegraph Reporters
Great British Bake Off's new presenters Sandi Toksvig (left) and Noel Fielding - Press Association

Several high-profile celebrities turned down the opportunity to present the new series of Great British Bake Off, it was claimed on Saturday.

Stars including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Jamie Oliver are said to have rejected the presenting job because they consider it “toxic” now the show has moved from the BBC to Channel 4.

The claims came after Channel 4 last week unveiled the comic Noel Fielding as co-presenter alongside broadcaster and campaigner Sandi Toksvig.

A Bake Off source told The Sun: “A lot of people at Love Productions are worried about what Channel 4 is going to do with their show.

“Noel is going to turn off a lot of the family viewing that made Bake Off such a favourite.

“But this is the risk of selling off a national treasure to the highest bidder.”

Fielding, the star of The Mighty Boosh, and Toksvig will replace Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

It is claimed that Davina McCall and Kate Quilton, the Food Unwrapped presenter, also turned down the opportunity to present the show.

The Bake Off source: “Noel and Sandi are an odd combination and they certainly weren’t top of the list — or even tenth on the list.

“Channel 4’s most loyal presenters were not interested. There was talk that replacing Mel and Sue was a toxic proposition.”

Fielding, 43, was picked after The Last Leg co-presenter Josh Widdicombe, 33, turned the role at the last minute.

The surprise signing of the unorthodox comic is thought to have been the brainchild of Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt, who secured the £75 million deal to poach Bake Off from the BBC.

Fielding and Toksvig, 58, have been hired alongside food writer Prue Leith, 77, who replaces Mary Berry, 81.

Paul Hollywood, 51, is the only member of the BBC team who went to Channel 4.

A Love Productions spokesman said: “Love Productions and Channel 4 jointly chose Sandi and Noel as presenters and they were the only pair an offer was made to.”

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