Mary Berry

Mary Berry

Mary Berry has quit the 'Great British Bake Off'.

The 81-year-old baking queen - who has judged on the show since it first hit screens on the BBC in 2010 - has decided to step away from the show following its move to Channel 4.

She said: "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.

"What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision."

Mary's decision to turn her back on the programme comes just a week after hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc announced they would no longer front the show after Channel 4 bought the rights to the series as part of a mega deal.

It's not yet known if Mary's co-judge Paul Hollywood will follow suit but it's believed he's been in negotiations with Channel 4.

Mary explained: "The '...Bake Off' family - Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter. I wish the programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it."

The 50-year-old silverfox - who has also featured as a judge on the programme since 2010 - is also in talks with the BBC about fronting a new culinary series with them.

A source said recently: "Paul's definitely not made up his mind yet on what to do and is looking at what's the best deal for him. Channel 4 are desperate to secure him and provide fans with some continuity from the original line-up."

The 'Great British Bake Off' was thrown into chaos last week when it was revealed the BBC had failed to offer a big enough sum to Love Productions, the makers of the programme, to keep the show.

The BBC offered the company an estimated £15 million per year - double the current contract - in a bid to keep hold of the show, but producers refused to accept offers below £25 million.

Channel 4 quickly waded in with a three-year deal - worth a reported £75 million - after talks between the BBC and Love Productions broke down early last week.