Bake Off Maggie


Category: News Release

In Tuesday’s night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Chigs got a Hollywood Handshake and was named Star Baker for the first time.   Maggie, 70 from Dorset was the fourth baker to leave the tent.

It was dessert week and Prue and Paul were looking for the bakers to produce the perfect finale to any meal.  The bakers put their twist on the classic Pavlova, and there followed an unctuous toffee technical.  Finally an intricate showstopper, in which they had to create a delicate dessert wrapped in patterned sponge.

At the end of the fourth episode Matt announced that Chigs was the Star Baker.  Noel  then had the difficult job of announcing  who was going home, and that person was Maggie.    On the show Maggie said: ‘The whole thing has been such good fun, just to have been part of it is has been a  complete joy.  To stay for four weeks I think comes pretty high on a personal level.  Nothing can beat delivering a baby and bringing a new life into the world, but it comes a close second.’

Here Maggie talks about her experience:  ‘‘For the first challenge I think my pavlova was a bit basic, and then in the Technical it got worse as I forgot to put the flour in the sticky toffee puddings, and they melted when I took them out of the oven.    I missed an instruction on the second page where it said to add the flour.  I did try to reason that mine was gluten free but I don’t think the judges were buying it!

‘On the Showstopper I had to start that again from scratch as it had gone very wrong. At the end  I couldn’t take the collar off the bavarois, and there was an avalanche of strawberry jelly oozing out.  The judges did say it tasted lovely, but I think they were just being kind.  I pretty much knew my Bake Off time was up, but I was happy to go.

‘I like to live dangerously, I have got a great sense of adventure, and when life is a bit on the edge I find that very exciting.  Being in the Bake Off tent meant sometimes I was hanging off the edge a bit too much, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  I didn’t think at the age of 70 I would be doing something like this, but I thoroughly recommend it to anyone of a similar age.  I have achieved a lot in my life but I think this is one of the unforgettable experiences that I will always treasure.

‘Life in Poole isn’t quite the same since Bake Off, so  I am enjoying every small moment of fame.  I am known in the area where I live as I have taught a lot of people’s children to play tennis,  and over the years I have delivered a lot of babies.  But it’s wonderful to be recognised and everyone is always so lovely, supportive and complimentary.  I am very proud of where I live, and I hope I have done Dorset, the county, proud.  I will continue to make Dorset Knobs [a kind of small roll], and Dorset apple cake.

‘My favourite challenges were the technical, even though I found them tough.   We were all in the same boat and there were no expectations. It was really exciting revealing the ingredients and the recipe. I should have done better.  The worst challenges were the showstoppers. I knew that I didn’t have the imagination or the expertise to produce a “wow” moment….but I am working on it.

‘The funniest moments had to be the expressions on Paul’s face! He would walk in to judge the technicals and his look at times was of slight despair as he thought “surely they can make a bread stick”!

‘Paul kept teasing me in the first episode of my likeness to Prue, I have never seen that myself but it was very funny and I did get to wear her bright pink glasses at one stage, when Paul put them on me.

‘And when Paul said that I must try harder in episode 2, it wasn’t that comment that made me cry, but I found it surprising how emotional you become in the tent.  It’s a mixture of trying your best against the clock and being in a completely different baking environment balanced with the support and help you get from the other bakers and everyone on the production team.  I think I was just a bit overwhelmed with it all.

‘I was completely taken with Noel,  what we did have in common was a sense of fun and humour.  He is an incredibly kind man, and Matt was the same, always trying to bring out the best in the bakers.

‘I have had to get to terms with understanding Instagram, and Zoom.  It was a bit daunting at first and has been a learning curve but I have to say I have jumped very much into my new technical and digital world and have been enjoying every moment with a little help from a friend!

‘My family have loved watching Bake Off especially the little ones who get very excited seeing all the coverage.  It’s been a rewarding experience for me to see the fun they have had with it.   Another Bake Off bonus for me has been the company of the other bakers, we are all such great friends.

‘The future for me in baking is to get better. I have discovered I love patisserie, I love it.   I will take away from the tent an experience that I will never ever forget in so many ways. And I will keep practising- I will get better.   Thank you to Bake Off for giving that to me.

‘Tom Allen has mentioned my red wellies and camper van on An Extra Slice, so it will be funny to meet him and Jo.  I really am looking forward to going on the show and to have another Bake Off experience.’

Maggie will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 15 October on Channel 4 at 8.00 pm. 


Q&A with Maggie:

*We filmed this series in a covid secure bubble again this year, how did it feel to be meeting and living with your fellow bakers?

The organisation of the COVID secure bubble was fantastic and in a beautiful location.


*What did you enjoy most about being in the bubble and what did you miss most about being away from home?

I enjoyed the time together in the practice tent - no pressure, great fun and camaraderie.


*Did you pack a lucky item for your stay?

I did not take a lucky charm with me.


*During the filming time when you were away from home, where did you say you were to friends?

My excuse for being away was I was looking after my friend in London after an operation. She was aware she was being used and loved being part of the subterfuge!


*Can you describe the bakers as a group this year?

All the group of bakers are on a WhatsApp group, it’s great that we all keep in touch.  We all got on so well right from the start, and the first day in the tent was so exciting to be altogether.


*How nervous were you when Paul and Prue started judging the first signature challenge and how does it feel when they are judging the technical challenge when they don’t know who has baked which item?

The first day in the tent was so utterly exciting I didn’t feel nervous. With regard to the judges, they were so completely natural and as I had watched all the previous series it just seemed normal.


*Having watched Bake Off in the past, was the first day in the tent what you expected?

My first day in the tent was simply the most exciting of my life. Lights, camera, action- who would have thought I would ever have been involved in anything like that. Fantastic.


*Are you a messy or tidy baker?

I am generally a tidy baker and am rather ashamed that sometimes I did get in a mess.


*Who is your baking inspiration and what age did you start baking?

My baking inspiration would be from my relatives’ farm kitchens. Every morning, bread would be made for the farm workers meals during the day. I was probably given dough to knead when I was about three years old!


*The Bake Off family is a very exclusive club, how do you feel being a new member?

I feel so incredibly privileged to be able to say that I am actually part of the “bake off family” and I am so grateful that they chose me.  I still can’t believe it.


*The warmth and love you get in the Tent is a very special feeling, what is the nicest thing in baking you have done for anyone/or given them

I love making cakes for surprises.


* What is the cake you get asked to make the most for friends and family?

The cake I get asked for most of all is my orange and lemon sponge cake.


*If you were a cake what would you be and why?

If I was a cake I would be a carrot or ginger cake. Not too sweet and unfilled.


*In three words how would you describe yourself?

In three words I would describe myself as useful, helpful and kind.


*Are there any bakes or flavours that you really dislike? and why

The cakes I like least are really sweet ones I.e. anything caramel or heavily frosted.


*When baking at home what do you have on in the background – music/TV/podcast/radio?

When I bake at home I listen to radio 3 or 4 - or ABBA if I feel like a little dance in the kitchen.


*Do you think work colleagues and friends will be shocked to see you on TV? 

I can think of several people who will not be able to believe that I had the courage to do it.


* What do you think it will be like watching yourself on television?  Behind a cushion or on delayed record?

I will watch myself on TV not able to believe it’s real. I shall watch with my friends and I shall bake something from each programme to share with them.



Maggie, 70


Retired Nurse & Midwife

Having grown up surrounded by family who constantly cooked and baked, Maggie finds that baking comes naturally to her. She has an impressive collection of classic recipe books and loves recreating traditional bakes while at the same time experimenting with exciting flavours. Her favourite thing to bake is bread – it never occurs to her to buy a loaf (or a cake!). A retired midwife, Maggie believes the excitement of delivering a baby can only be excellent preparation for taking part in Bake Off! She loves canoeing, kayaking and sailing (a passion inherited from her father), and regularly takes off in her campervan, heading for adventure. When she’s not baking or thrill-seeking, Maggie loves spending time with her great nieces and great nephews.


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