Mary Berry Cooks

A timeless classic like Victoria sponge with a dollop of double cream (for a touch of naughtiness) - that’s how I’d sum up Mary Berry on a plate. 

But in My Life on a Plate (BBC 1, 26 October, 3.45pm) chef Brian Turner had different ideas. To be fair, the cheery Yorkshireman did his homework - taking a trip to genteel Bath where Mary grew up (and where she baked her first treacle sponge) to better understand his foodie muse. 

Gently flirting, the pair ambled around Mary’s nostalgic pressure points with tea and cakes at the famous Pump Room and a trip to Mary’s abandoned secondary school. Where, lo and behold, the angelic Mary used to drive her teachers mad. “The headmistress would tell me I needed to start taking life more seriously,” the 80-year-old smiled with a hint of mischief that confirmed she’s more than deserving of that double cream. 

As the daughter of Bath’s former mayor, the young Mary enjoyed certain privileges too, with the injured family dog cured by a paddle in Bath’s spa - off limits to more regular folk. 

And as if the queen of baking couldn’t get any quainter it emerged she milked her own goats in the back garden and loved making marmalade with her mother. All facts that made her the perfect candidate for this gentle trip down memory lane broadcast at just the right time to coincide with an afternoon nap and a cup of tea. 

Yet Turner chose to sum up the TV icon with a slightly singed ox tongue pie and two veg, cooked in a ropey looking oven in her back yard. Her fans would have been appalled.