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Christmas Great British Bake Off: Mary Berry says ‘Wonderful’ to return

Great British Bake Off (Image credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi)

It's the last time we'll see Mary Berry in the bake off tent, so what do they have in store for us? We talk to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood about the Christmas special and their plans for Christmas

Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry says it’s ‘wonderful’ to see past favourite bakers return for two festive specials this Christmas – the last time the original gang of Mary, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc will be together.

Paul adds about the Christmas Great British Bake Off specials: ‘We can’t wait for you to see the returning bakers. They’re fantastic, such a laugh. We think everyone’s going to love them, especially as unlike our usual Christmas master classes, we’ve got Mel and Sue with us this time. It’s hilarious.’

Here Mary and Paul, the only one of the four staying with the show when it moves to C4 in 2018, tell us all about what they'll be doing over the festive season as we await the Christmas Great British Bake Off specials....

What are your plans for Christmas, guys?

Mary: The whole family gets together at my house for celebration, laughter and good food, of course!

Paul: This Christmas we’re planning to go skiing and I’ll be taking one of Mary’s cakes with me. I took her Genoise Cake last time.

Do you prepare much in advance?

Mary: A lot, it makes life so much easier. I make the sausage stuffing and gravy on Christmas Eve and also par boil the veg and prepare the sprouts. I also make the trifle the day before and add the whipped cream and almonds on the big day.

Paul: I’m used to planning ahead for Christmas because when I worked at The Dorchester Hotel we’d start making our Christmas puddings in January!

Any favourite family traditions?

Mary: We always have a fish pie every Christmas Eve, so I’ll be doing that again. I think it’s rather lovely to keep up family traditions at this time of year.

Paul: We always have stockings to open on Christmas Day and the table’s laden with crackers. It’s compulsory to wear paper hats and read out bad jokes before lunch!

Favourite Christmas cheat?

Mary: We’ve shown you how to make puff pastry countless times on Bake Off, but Christmas is so busy why not use shop-bought pastry? Perfect for Christmas savouries and makes life easier.

Paul: Use your leftovers from Christmas lunch - turkey, stuffing, sausage - to make a Leftover Pie on Boxing Day. It’s a real treat eaten with pickles and chutneys.

Sounds like neither of you get a break from cooking!

Mary: Oh, but I never feel that I’m doing all the work, as the family congregate in the kitchen and all help out - it’s a lovely atmosphere. Plus we open a bottle of champagne as we cook lunch! It’s a lovely family day that I so look forward to.

Paul: I’m happy to be busy in the kitchen too over Christmas. But I’m also looking forward to putting my feet up and having some down time, as it’s been a busy year. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas…

Mary: …and your bakes turn out just right!

The Great British Bake Off returns at 4.45pm on Christmas Day.

David Hollingsworth

David is a Senior Digital Content Editor with over 15 years experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest soap spoilers and television news for Whatsontv.

Before working for Whatsontv, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!