Mary Berry loves to share her food passion

Thursday: Mary Berry – Love to Cook; (BBC Two, 8pm)

Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain – the BBC’s current queens of all things culinary.

But which is better? If Harry Hill were in charge, there would be only one way to find out – via a fiiiiiggghhttt! However, you suspect the participants would much sooner share the crown, particularly if it was made of cake.

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The pair first met in 2015 when Mary was a judge on The Great British Bake Off and, along with Paul Hollywood, decided that Nadiya was that year’s worthy winner. She famously shed tears while explaining why the young mother-of-three deserved the what turned out to be a life-changing title. Since her triumph, she has launched a hugely successful broadcasting career and has her own new series starting tonight, entitled Nadiya’s Fast Food.

Mary Berry in Terry Walton's allotment, Wales

But before that airs, Mary enters the spotlight. She did pretty well out of Bake Off too – it turned her into a national treasure. Okay, so long-standing foodies were already aware of her thanks to her recipe books and earlier TV experiences, but none of those brought her the same kind of exposure as the Bake Off did.

These days the show that made her name is well behind her. She stuck with the BBC when Bake Off moved to Channel 4, and has been rewarded by being given the opportunity to front various formats for the broadcaster whose bosses have been keen to capitalise on her talents and popularity.

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Berry enjoys grabbing an opportunity when it comes her way, a can-do approach she credits to a three-month spell she had in hospital after contracting polio as a child; she claims that being away from her family toughened her up and inspired her to make the most of every opportunity, not just on the small screen, but as a writer too.

Her first book, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, was first published more than half a century ago, and she’s had many bestsellers since then – no doubt the tome accompanying her latest series will top the charts in the run-up to Christmas.

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“Love To Cook is me in a nutshell!” says Mary of her latest project. “My cooking is all about sharing what I know and love, teaching and inspiring everyone to enjoy cooking as much as I do. Over the past year many have had unexpected time on their hands at home and have found a love of cooking to be comforting and healing in very difficult times. Love To Cook is all about celebrating just that, with wonderful characters, as I travel the British Isles in a quest to meet and share in our passion for food.”

Catherine Catton, BBC Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment, adds: “We are delighted to be working with Mary again and very much looking forward to sharing new recipes that she loves to cook.”

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In truth, the programme cannot be described as groundbreaking – we’ve seen Mary front other very similar shows in the past – but like a tasty dish of comfort food, it promises to be rather soothing and relaxing. And yes, like most of Mary’s shows, it can lead to a serious amount of fridge-raiding – you have been warned.

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