Well, that was . . . short.
Sandi Toksvig announced Thursday that she will be leaving as the co-host of “The Great British Baking Show,” three seasons after joining the hugely popular baking competition series in the wake of a massive cast shake-up. Toksvig, one half of the comedic duo that paired her with the lanky, eccentric Noel Fielding, had evolved as a warm, self-deprecating presence on the show – who also gamely allowed herself to be the subject of many jokes about her diminutive height.
According to a Channel 4 news release, the British network that swiped the series from BBC in 2016, Toksvig says she will be focusing on “other work.” That will include another series for the channel, this one a spelling-bee driven program called “The Write Offs,” says the Guardian.
“Bake Off is a wonderful programme which has already proved it can happily withstand a change of hosting personnel,” Toksvig said in the release. “The reason for that, of course, is that the true stars of the show are the bakers themselves. I wish everyone well.”
At this point, the friendliest competition series on TV is no stranger to change. Toksvig, Fielding and judge Prue Leith entered the fold following the network switcheroo after original hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, as well as beloved judge Mary Berry, declined to follow the show to Channel 4. The network significantly upped the ante on how much production company Love Productions would get paid for “The Great British Bake Off.” Judge Paul Hollywood was the only original cast member to stay. Additionally, the show began airing on Netflix, rather than PBS, in America.
I, for one, will miss Toksvig. I probably could have done without all the short jokes, but she exuded a warmth and wit that was both comforting and entertaining. Her feelings came across as genuine and heartfelt, and it would not be unusual to see her get choked up when it came time for the unenviable task of sending bakers home. In contrast to Fielding’s brash, flashier humor, hers was sweet and relatable. In truth, she reminded me a lot of Giedroyc and Perkins, which was a good thing in my book.
Channel 4 is saying only this: “The hunt is currently on for a new face to join Noel, Paul and Prue in the tent. Candidates must have experience of mopping up spills and the occasional tear, making tea and keeping the amateur bakers to time. More information will be announced in due course.”
On your marks, get set . . . wait.