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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ellie Harrison

Why Matt Lucas left Great British Bake Off


Matt Lucas has shed some light on his decision to exit his role as co-host of The Great British Bake Off.

The comedian, 48, joined the Channel 4 baking competition in 2020 as a host alongside presenter Noel Fielding and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood. He announced he was stepping down in December last year.

The Little Britain star was replaced by This Morning fan-favourite Alison Hammond, who made her Bake Off debut on Tuesday (26 September).

Speaking in a February interview on the Deeney Talks podcast, Lucas referred to Bake Off as a “pandemic job”, admitting he had “never seen the show” before he was approached to star on it.

“I’d never seen the show beforehand and I was not a baker,” he said.

“They were just looking for a new host and it came at a time where I had been living in LA for seven years and I had just sold my house there and I was thinking about coming back and spending more time with my family and friends.”

He continued: “I was told they were interested in me but I said I had never seen it so they [Love Productions] asked if I would watch it and I watched a couple of episodes and thought it was great but I don’t want to host a TV show, but said, ‘Thank you, I’m really grateful.’”

Lucas eventually agreed to meet with the production company after encouragement from his agent.

Matt Lucas presenting ‘Bake Off’

“Anyway, I went along with it and I got the job and then I was like, ‘Oh, OK,’ and it just kind of happened – it was exactly when the pandemic was and it was the perfect pandemic job and I did it and it was fun and I had a great time with Noel and Paul and Prue and the bakers were lovely and I learned a bit about baking.”

Lucas said that, after a time, he felt that he wanted to focus more on Fantasy Football League, writing a book and musical, and working on a new TV series with his former Little Britain co-star David Walliams.

“It probably utilises what I have better than Bake Off,” he said of Fantasy Football League.

“I just don’t have the time and not doing Bake Off means I have time to do some writing with David and record my music as well as Fantasy Football League.”

Lucas and Walliams are famous for their controversial Noughties sketch show, Little Britain, which in recent years has faced accusations of racism due to the pair appearing in blackface in the series.

Walliams was replaced as a host on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year after his derogatory comments about contestants – including sexually explicit remarks about one woman and another instance in which he described an elderly man as a “c***” – were leaked.

He was replaced by Bruno Tonioli on the ITV talent show.

Bake Off’s showrunner and executive producer Richard McKerrow recently said a new co-host for Fielding on the series would be announced soon, saying he was searching for someone who would “look after the bakers during their experience and be curious about what they’re baking and to do it with charm, humour and kindness”.

The new host will make their debut on the show when it returns this autumn.

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