Belfast Telegraph

Mary Berry: I was a maths flop at school

Mary Berry wasn't the "brightest button" at school, so didn't get into her cookery course of choice.

The cookery queen is one of British TV's most-loved personalities and fans are eagerly awaiting the return of The Great British Bake Off next week, which she judges alongside Paul Hollywood.

While she's made it far in entertainment, the 80-year-old didn't feel particularly gifted when she was younger.

“I wasn’t the brightest button in the class at school but I enjoyed cooking and baking," she recalled to Radio Times magazine.

“I wasn’t clever enough at maths O level to get on to the cookery teaching course I really wanted to do. So I did a catering course instead.”

Twelve new hopefuls are lined up to see if they can impress tough critics Mary and Paul with their culinary creations.

And while viewers may be hoping for a bit of drama, the contestants are surely keen to avoid a repeat of what happened to last year's baker Iain Watters, who was eliminated from the competition when he threw a melted baked Alaska in the bin and subsequently had nothing to present the judges with.

While fellow contestant Diana Beard was painted as the villain for momentarily removing the frozen cake made with ice cream from the freezer, Paul insists it really wasn't that dramatic.

“Do you know what? Nothing happened," he sighed to British newspaper The Sun, branding the whole thing "ridiculous".

“Nothing happened in the tent. The only thing I said to Iain was, ‘Why did you throw it in the bin, mate? We needed something.'"

He added the cake was only out of the freezer for 40 seconds, which wouldn't have been long enough to melt it.

Among this year's 12 hopefuls is bodybuilder Ugne from Lithuania, who hopes to impress with Eastern European flavours. At 19, Flora is the youngest baker, currently on a gap year from university.

While one of them will be crowned top baker, none of them can expect to socialise with Paul and Mary.

“We meet them as they walk into the tent, we talk to them in the tent, and that is shared with the viewer. I don’t want to see them out of the tent at all," Mary insisted.

The Great British Bake Off returns to BBC One on Wednesday August 5, with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins back as presenters.

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