Restaurateur, presenter and cookery writer Prue Leith is being lined up to take Mary Berry’s spot on Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off, according to reports.
Sources told the Sun that Leith was seen as a “like for like” replacement for Berry, who chose to stay with the BBC after Bake Off makers Love Productions signed a £25m a year deal to take the show to Channel 4.
A representative for Leith told the Telegraph she had been involved in the selection process, but a Channel 4 spokesperson refused to confirm whether she would be joining the show, saying the presenting lineup would be announced in due course.
Leith would join judge Paul Hollywood, the only member of the original on-screen team to move to Bake Off after presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc also said they would stay with the BBC.
Numerous names have been put forward to fill the void. Davina McCall, Richard Ayoade, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have all been named as potential hosts, while chefs ranging from Delia Smith to Michel Roux Jr have been tipped as replacement judges.
Leith has worked with Channel 4 as a judge on competitive cooking show My Kitchen Rules UK, which aired late last year. She was also a judge for 11 years on the BBC’s Great British Menu, on which Berry appeared as a guest. She stood down in October, weeks after being made chancellor of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.
Leith, born in South Africa, opened her Michelin-starred restaurant, called Leith’s, in 1969 before going on to found cookery school Leiths School of Food and Wine in 1975.
She later sold the business, retaining only the restaurant. She has written12 cookery books, six novels and a memoir, Relish.
The Sun’s source said: “In cookery circles, she’s practically royalty.”
Bake Off is expected to return to TV screens this year after the BBC said it would not exercise a “hold-back” clause stopping Channel 4 from airing its version of the show until 2018.