Matt Lucas Reveals Why He Originally Turned Down Bake Off Presenting Role

The Little Britain comedian recently announced his departure from the Channel 4 show after three seasons.
Matt Lucas on The Great British Bake Off
Matt Lucas on The Great British Bake Off
Channel 4/Love Productions

Matt Lucas has revealed he took some persuasion to sign up as co-host of The Great British Bake Off, originally turning it down.

The former Little Britain comic joined the hit Channel 4 baking show in 2020 replacing Sandi Toksvig as Noel Fielding’s co-host, before announcing his departure in December.

Reflecting on his stint in the Bake Off tent during an interview on the Deeney Talks podcast, Matt admitted he had never even seen the show before being encouraged to sign up.

“I never saw the show beforehand. Never seen it,” Matt said, also revealing he is not a baking fan either.

“They were just looking for a new host and it just came around at a time where I’d been living in LA for seven years. I’d just sold my house there and was thinking I was going to come back and spend a bit more time here with family and friends.

“I was asked... and I said, ‘Well, I’ve never seen it,’ and they said, ‘Would you watch it?’ So I watched a couple of episodes and said, ’this is great, but I don’t want to host a TV show. But thank you, I’m really grateful’.

“Then my agent said, ‘why don’t you go for the interview, audition-thing because at least you will meet this production company who make lots of shows. You’ve never really done anything for Channel 4, so just go along with it. You don’t have to do the job’.”

The Bake Off family, who will gain a new member later this year
The Bake Off family, who will gain a new member later this year
via PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

Matt continued: “I went along with it and got the job, and then was like OK. It just kind of happened. It was exactly when the pandemic was, so it was the perfect pandemic job.

“I did it and it was fun, and I had a great time with Noel and Paul and Prue. The bakers were lovely and learned a bit about baking. I did 51 episodes and now it’s time for someone else to do it”

Back in December, Matt cited scheduling issues with his other projects as to why he would not be returning to Bake Off, later admitting he is reuniting with former comedy partner David Walliams.

During an appearance on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Matt explained that he and the former Britain’s Got Talent judge were writing together again and had quit their respective jobs to focus on the new project.

He told Zoe: “Me and David Walliams have started writing together again. We just thought it was time, so we quit our jobs and decided to do that.

“I mean I still do Fantasy Football League, obviously. We just started last week.”

Matt is once again working with comedy partner David Walliams
Matt is once again working with comedy partner David Walliams
Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

Revealing the concept of his and David’s new show had already been worked out, Matt continued: “It will be a show with us playing lots of characters. But we have to write the treatment for it and we have to go and pitch it and see if anyone wants to make it.

“But if someone wants to make it, we’ll be thrilled to do it,” added Matt, whose Bake Off replacement is yet to be announced.

Matt and David created and starred in Little Britain from 2003 to 2007, which also spawned a US spin-off and a national arena tour.

They later worked together again on Come Fly With Me in 2010.

Matt will be seen hosting the forthcoming celebrity series of The Great British Bake Off in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, before hanging up his apron for good.

Show bosses have revealed his replacement is due to be announced in the coming weeks, ahead of filming on the 14th series beginning later this year.


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