Sandi Toksvig is leaving The Great British Bake Off after three years as a presenter.
The 61-year-old, who hosts the baking programme alongside Noel Fielding, said today that she wants to leave the Bake Off tent to focus on other work projects.
Copenhagen-born Toksvig will appear in the forthcoming charity series of Bake Off, The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, before departing the show for good.
The presenter, also known for hosting quiz shows QI and Fifteen To One, will host a new Channel 4 series called The Write Offs, which looks at the issue of adult literacy.
Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding star on Channel 4 programme The Great British Bake Off
Toksvig (rear left) with fellow Bake Off stars Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith
Toksvig, who was estimated to be earning £200,000 a series presenting Bake Off, said: ‘When stepping down from a job, it is quite common for people to say they are doing so in order to spend more time with their family.
‘Unusually, I am departing from the Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work. As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all-consuming show.
Sandi Toksvig with her wife Debbie at The Royal Academy Of Arts Summer Exhibition preview party in London on June 4, 2019
‘Spending time with Prue, Paul and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life. These are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.
‘Bake Off is a wonderful programme which has already proved it can happily withstand a change of hosting personnel.
‘The reason for that, of course, is that the true stars of the show are the bakers themselves. I wish everyone well.’
Toksvig has fronted the programme alongside Fielding and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith since 2017 after it moved to Channel 4 from BBC One.
Toksvig, Fielding and Leith joined the show when previous presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and judge Mary Berry, quit following the channel move.
Hollywood is the only original star of Bake Off, which started on BBC Two in 2010.
Leith tweeted: ‘I have absolutely loved working with Sandi, she’s been a brilliant host and enormous fun and I am in awe of how hard she works juggling so many different projects.
Toksvig said in a statement that ‘spending time with Prue, Paul and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life’
Bake Off judge Prue Leith tweeted: ‘I have absolutely loved working with Sandi, she’s been a brilliant host and enormous fun and I am in awe of how hard she works juggling so many different projects. We shall be lifelong friends’ way beyond the tent. #GBBO #sanditoksvig’
Paul Hollywood paid tribute to Toksvig in an Instagram post, with a picture of the four stars
‘We shall be lifelong friends’ way beyond the tent. #GBBO #sanditoksvig.’
Hollywood also paid tribute to Toksvig. He said: ‘It’s been great fun working with Sandi. We will miss her but I hope that she will get time to visit us in the tent when we film later this year. She will always be part of the Bake Off family.’
Who is the favourite to replace Sandi Toksvig?
Nadiya Hussain wins Bake Off in 2015
- Nadiya Hussain 2-1
- Susan Calman 3-1
- Davina McCall 4-1
- Rachel Riley 6-1
- Jo Brand 6-1
- Noel Edmonds 8-1
- Rylan Clarke-Neal 10-1
- Clare Balding 12-1
Bookmaker Coral said 2015 Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is the 2-1 favourite to replace Toksvig, followed by Scottish comedian Susan Calman at 3-1.
Also said to be in the running are Davina McCall at 4-1, Rachel Riley and Jo Brand both at 6-1, Noel Edmonds at 8-1, Rylan Clarke-Neal at 10-1 and Clare Balding 12-1.
Channel 4 reportedly paid £75million to take Bake Off from the BBC in 2017.
Viewing figures are down from the 13million people who watched the show on BBC One, but a healthy average of 6.9million tuned in for the most recent final last October whch saw David Atherton crowned the winner.
Channel 4 had previously said it wanted between five to seven million viewers, and needed to attract at least three million viewers per episode to break even.
Ian Katz, Channel 4’s director of programmes, said: ‘Sandi is a huge part of why Bake Off’s move to Channel 4 has been such a success and we are immensely grateful for her contribution to the show.
‘We will miss her warmth and wit, not to mention her endless willingness to be the butt of jokes about being the least tall person in the Bake Off tent.
‘Fortunately, her unique voice will continue to have an important presence on the channel with new shows in development – none of which involve cake.’
A post from the official Bake Off Instagram account confirmed that Toksvig will appear in the upcoming series of The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off before her departure from the show.
‘All pud things come to an end,’ the post said. ‘The upcoming series of The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off will mark the end of Sandi’s magnificent stint as a presenter on the show.
‘We would like to thank her for all the wonderful memories and wish her the very best for the future. #GBBO.’
Toksvig is pictured at The Writers’ Guild Awards 2020 held in London on Monday
Miss Toksvig, whose wife Debbie is a psychotherapist, became one of the first women on British TV to come out publicly as gay in 1994, prompting her bosses to say that she would ‘never work again’.
She had three children with her ex-partner Peta Stewart, using sperm from a donor, before they split in 1997.
She has often discussed her love of food, but radically changed her eating habits in 2014 when she lost four stone to shrunk from a size 22 to a size 10.
Richard McKerrow, chief creative officer and executive producer for Bake Off’s production company Love Productions, said: ‘We’ll always be incredibly grateful to Sandi for becoming one of the hosts of Bake Off when we moved to Channel 4, along with Noel, Paul and Prue.
‘She has contributed hugely to Bake Off over the last three years, with her sharp witty sense of humour and her passionate commitment to the dozens of bakers during her time in the tent.
‘We wish her all the very best on the exciting projects she is currently working on and beyond.’
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