The TV cook, 77, said she had refused protection, but that Channel 44 and production company Love Productions insisted over fears she would receive threats. Speaking to The Sun she said: On the day that they announced who the line-up was, they wanted to send a close protection officer.
My husband and a bunch of friends were going out to dinner to a really nice restaurant in London. Replaced: Mary Berry with former presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc (BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi)
I said, Don t be ridiculous, we absolutely do not need a copper standing there looking.
But they said, No, no, no, we really must just to be on the safe side.
What did they think is going to happen ? I m not likely to be trolled . This is a nice family show.
Despite her protestations, Leith said she returned home to find a security guard outside her house, and later learned that her agent had also been given protection. Paul Hollywood talks about new Bake Off line-up on Loose Women
She continued: When I got home that night at 11 at night, there s a chap in a van, a security guard.
They sent somebody down to the country to look after me.
And they sent someone to look after my agent . I mean, who do they think I am ?
Do they think I m Prince Philip or something?
I was really amazed that they really look after you. Leith replaced Berry on the popular baking show after it moved from the BBC5 to rival broadcaster, Channel 4, and will judge the contestants alongside Paul Hollywood6. Presenters Sue Perkins7 and Mel Giedroyc8 also turned down the chance to continue on Channel 4 and were later replaced by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding9.
The Great British Bake Off airs later this year.
- ^ Prue Leith (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Mary Berry (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ The Great British Bake Off (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Channel 4 (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ BBC (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Paul Hollywood (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Sue Perkins (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ Mel Giedroyc (www.standard.co.uk)
- ^ replaced by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding (www.standard.co.uk)
‘Great British Bake Off’ Host Prue Leith Given Full-Time Security Protection To Guard Her From Threats
But the 77-year-old says she was shocked by the level of security provided by Love Productions, who make the show, after it was confirmed she would be joining Paul Hollywood as a judge.
David Levenson via Getty Images
But when Prue returned to her home in the Cotswolds, she discovered she had been granted the security protection anyway.
Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Prue is set to replace Mary Berry on the ‘Bake Off’ judging panel.
Prue also revealed that Mary Berry has been in touch to reassure her not to worry about any threats.
She revealed that Mary told her: Look, if there s a big story there might be somebody at the gate, but most people like the show.
It s quite nice walking into the supermarket and being asked: Are you the lady off the telly ? That happens to me now and I always enjoy it.
Awakening via Getty Images
The Great British Bake Off is expected to launch on Channel 4 later this year.
‘Great British Bake Off’: Where Are They Now?
Edd Kimber (winner, 2010)
Fresh from being crowned the winner of the first ever Bake Off , Ed quit his day job as a debt collector for Yorkshire Bank (which he hated) to follow his baking dream with a job in Raymond Blanc s restaurant Le Manoir as a pastry chef (what else?) . He s gone on to carve himself a career as a food writer with articles appearing in BBC Good Food magazine and on his blog theboywhobakes.co.uk . In 2011 he published his first cookbook, ran a pop-up bakery in Fortnum & Mason and is also the resident baker on The Alan Titchmarsh Show . Bake Off changed my life in the most amazing way .
It allowed me to follow my passion and fulfil my dreams in a way I never imagined, he said recently.
Mike Marsland via Getty Images
UK authorities are facing an increased terror threat from battle-hardened fighters returning from Mosul and other conflict zones in Iraq and Syria. Security sources have told Sky News more than 400 former fighters are now believed to be back in Britain. The authorities believe there is a growing risk the UK could suffer the kind of mass gun and bomb attacks seen in France and Belgium recently, as many returning fighters will have been trained in the use of weapons and the construction of improvised explosive devices. It is a serious, two-pronged challenge for the police and security services, who are already working flat-out to counter the threat from homegrown lone-wolf extremists, like Khalid Masood, who launched last week’s deadly attack on Westminster.
Former Scotland Yard Specialist Firearms Officer and author Tony Long said combating an attack launched by a well-trained returning jihadist could be a tough prospect. He said: “These are combat-hardened soldiers . They might not be trained in the way that NATO might train their soldiers but they’ve seen more close quarter conflict and more urban fighting than probably most members of the British Armed Forces and you have to respect that.
“Of course they’re bringing that knowledge back with them to the UK and it’s very very difficult because of the legal restrictions that are put on the security services and the police to actually monitor all of these people.”
To date, only a fraction of those returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq have been prosecuted, as authorities need enough evidence to put before the courts and often returning fighters go to great lengths to cover up their overseas activities. Imran Khawaja, 29, from west London, is currently serving 12 years in prison after he faked his own death in Syria in an attempt to sneak back into the UK undetected. Khawaja had joined a militant group with links to so-called Islamic State while overseas. He was pictured posing with the severed heads of Syrian soldiers during his six months in the country. He was arrested as he tried to re-enter the UK through the port of Dover and later admitted preparing for acts of terrorism, attending a camp, receiving training and possessing firearms.
Security sources said they could not be certain that Khawaja would have launched an attack back home, but the pattern of returning jihadists posing a major risk to national security is well established. More than a decade ago, groups of al Qaeda trained terrorists were responsible for mass carnage in Europe and the United States. Those who launched the devastating attack on the London transport system on 7 July 2005 had attended al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some of the terrorists who launched a similar failed attack on London on 21 July 2005 had received weapons and explosives training, as had some of the plotters who planned to blow up airliners with liquid bombs in 2006. :: Traumatised children of Mosul2
Security expert Professor Tahir Abbas from the Royal United Services Institute said: “The police and security services are certainly preparing for all eventualities, because in Britain, we’ve had our lessons from the past. “These returning fighters pose a number of threats in relation to security here. “They’ve been through a lot of very traumatic conflict and engagement, often involved in street-to-street fighting.
“Now, having made their way back to Britain, they pose a particular threat because of their capacity – and perhaps they’ve been instructed to return, hold fire and wait for the go ahead to launch attacks.
“They are likely to be traumatised, but also extremely experienced and well trained individuals who pose a serious risk.” With the growing threat from returning fighters, emergency services have been increasing their training to respond to gun and bomb attacks. On March 19, more than 200 police officers carried out a training exercise on the River Thames, where police firearms teams boarded a boat in a training scenario involving dozens of hostages. The UK government has provided millions of pounds in extra funding to help Chief Constables across country to increase their firearms capability to respond to a terrorist attack.