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Mary Berry quits The Great British Bake Off

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Mary Berry has announced she is leaving The Great British Bake Off ahead of the show's move to Channel 4, out of loyalty to the BBC. In a statement, the 81-year-old said: "What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent - The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family - Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter.

"My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision."

mary berry

Mary Berry has announced her decision to leave The Great British Bake Off

She added: "I wish the programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms."

Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, said: "Mary is an extraordinary woman, loved and adored by the British public, and the BBC is her natural home.

"I've been very lucky to have had the pleasure of working with Mary over the last seven years and I'm so pleased that relationship will continue. She is an inspiration to generations, a real icon and I can't wait to cook up more unmissable shows with her in the future."

bakeoff© Photo: BBC

The star follows in the footsteps of Mel and Sue, who have already stepped down as hosts

Mary follows in the footsteps of hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins who announced earlier this month that they would be stepping down, instead of "going with the dough". Paul Hollywood, meanwhile, has announced that he will be moving to Channel 4 with the show next year. 

Mary, Paul, Mel and Sue have all appeared on The Great British Bake Off since it first began in 2010, and have formed a family-like bond seen by many as instrumental to the show's success.

The BBC is believed to have offered Love Productions, the producers of the popular baking show, £15million a year to keep the programme. But the amount is said to have fallen £10million short of the amount needed to retain it. It was revealed on 12 September that Channel 4 has signed a three-year agreement with the production company.