It's the end of an era. Following recent speculation over whether or not the hosts of the BBC's wildly successful cooking competition The Great British Bake Off would stay on after the show migrates to Channel 4 next year, Mary Berry has released a statement announcing she will depart the series after this season. "What a privilege and honor it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent," she wrote. "My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision."
Berry is the third host to declare she will leave the series. Last week, co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins quit the show over the network change, saying: "The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 at its peak. We've had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We're not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success." The show's production company moved the series to Channel 4 after the BBC, a publicly-funded network, was not able to cough up £25 million annually (about $33 million annually) for rights to air the show.
The only host who has decided to stay on—and has a signed a three-year deal with Channel 4 to do so—is Paul Hollywood. Earlier today, he issued statements thanking his co-hosts and looking ahead. "Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories," he wrote. "Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf...I have loved every minute of my time working with Mary. I have learned so much from her and we are great friends inside and outside the tent. That will not change. Knowing her as well as I do, I am sure she has made the right decision for her. I will miss her."