Former The Great British Bake Off hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have revealed they almost quit on day one of filming over fears the tone of the show was too nasty.
The duo – who enjoyed a seven-series stint on the award-winning programme – said they were appalled when contestants were filmed bursting into tears.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Giedroyc said: “We wanted to make it kind. That was absolutely our number one priority and on day one we had quite a frank chat with the producers.”
Perkins added: “We resigned, basically. Because it was not a kind show. They were pointing cameras in the bakers’ faces and making them cry and saying, ‘Tell us about your dead gran’. So we had very stiff words about how we wanted to proceed. I think we can say that, now we’re out of it, can’t we?
“We’re quite cheesy and homespun and we just want to have a laugh. Who wants to see people crying? I don’t. Especially if you work in television and you know the mechanisms that have been used to make them cry.”
Giedroyc and Perkins began working on the show in 2010 and became firm fan favourites while Bake Off’s popularity boomed, eventually moving it from BBC Two to BBC One.
The pair – close friends who have known each for 32 years – were joined by Mary Berry in refusing to move with Bake Off when it was controversially bought by Channel 4 in 2016.
Paul Hollywood did make the move, striking up a successful judging partnership with Prue Leith.
Noel Fielding had hosted the show with Sandi Toksvig, though Matt Lucas was last week announced as Toksvig’s replacement after she quit in January.
Perkins, 50, said she had no regrets about leaving the show.
“It was painful, and we’ve kept our counsel as to the whys and wherefores, and I think there is dignity in that,” she said.
“It’s a show about cakes and the moment you get tied up in intense feelings you tell yourself to stop being silly.
“We wish it the best and in return we just wanted them to understand that it would have been hard for us to carry on in those circumstances.”
Giedroyc added: “It was hard, but it was the right time. I think it’s good to leave the party before the sandwiches start to turn up at the corners. I have no problem at all with the fact that the show still goes on.”
Giedroyc and Perkins will be back together playing assassins in Sky One comedy Hitmen.