Dame Prue Leith ‘felt so terrible' after spoiling The Great British Bake Off final

The Great British Bake Off judge received a phone call from the prime minister of Bhutan who said she had put his country on the map.

Dame Prue Leith has said she “felt so terrible” when she accidentally revealed the winner of The Great British Bake Off in a spoiler faux pas in 2017.

The Great British Bake Off judge, 81, was on holiday in Bhutan and became confused by the time difference, going on Twitter to congratulate the winner six hours before the show was broadcast.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, she said: “It was absolutely awful.

“I was having a siesta in Bhutan and I picked up my phone and I saw a message from the production company who said ‘don’t forget to congratulate the winner after 10pm’.

“I looked at my watch and quickly tweeted ‘bravo Sophie’ and a text came whizzing in which just said ‘eek eek it’s tonight delete delete’.

Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood
The spoiler was at the end of the first series for Leith, who joined the baking show when it moved to Channel 4 along with previous judge Paul Hollywood, replacing Mary Berry (C4/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon/PA)

“By then I was panicking so much I didn’t know which button to press so I rang my secretary, which I do in every moment of panic, and she said don’t worry I’ve deleted it.

“She had deleted it 89 seconds after it went out but it was too late, it had gone viral by then.

“I just felt so terrible.

“What’s interesting is the prime minister of Bhutan rang me up and said ‘you have put Bhutan on the map’.”

The spoiler was at the end of the first series for Leith, who joined the baking show when it moved to Channel 4 along with previous judge Paul Hollywood, replacing Mary Berry.

Leith spent more than a decade as a judge on BBC Two’s Great British Menu before switching to Bake Off when it moved channels in 2017.

She said: “I didn’t watch it (the show), I had heard of it and I knew Mary Berry had decided not to go to Channel 4 and so it did occur to me I would quite like that job, and then I dismissed it thinking they wouldn’t want another old lady.

“I asked her (Mary Berry) what Paul Hollywood was like, she said he’s very strong you have to hold your own, he’s very articulate and if you don’t jump in he would have said it all.”

Leith talks about the recent criticism she has received for describing some cakes as “absolutely worth the calories” on the baking show.

Mary Berry
Prue Leith asked Mary Berry what Paul Hollywood was like before moving to the Channel 4 show (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Its just an expression of how much I love something, I don’t know I say it.

“Beat, a charity that try to tackle eating disorders, have said I mustn’t say it because people who have an eating disorder feel guilty and unhappy so they eat more, so perhaps I will stop saying it.”

Leith was married to South African author Rayne Kruger for almost 30 years until his death aged 80 in 2002.

She had a 13-year affair with Kruger, while he was married to her mother’s best friend, before they eventually married and had a son Daniel and adopted a daughter Li-Da from Cambodia.

Leith said: “I was really happy, because I was in love with Rayne, nobody knew about our affair and so I was still great friends with all of his family and his wife who I adored.

“Although this was absolutely deceitful, I could no more have walked away from him than flown to the moon, I was completely in love with him.

“I am not at all proud of the fact that I was an adulteress for all that time but in a sense I don’t think I had any option, I could not have left him, ever.”

In 2016, Leith married fashion designer John Playfair.

She added: “To meet somebody who you know you’re going to spend the rest of your life with when you’re 70 years old and for it to work so well is just too lucky to be true.

“I hope it sticks.”

Desert Island Discs airs on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am.

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