Why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off? Inside the presenter's shock decision to quit

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As series eight returns to Channel 4 this week, many fans are still asking why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off.

The popular Danish-born presenter enjoyed a welcome reception when she made her Bake Off bow alongside Noel Fielding in 2017. However, despite the apparent success on screen, Toksvig has since left the show.

So, why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off? Here's why she's no longer part of the team crew and why Matt Lucas has taken her place.

why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off Sandi Toksvig's decision to leave Bake Off was a shock (Credit: Channel 4)

Why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off?

Ostensibly, Toksvig's reason for leaving Bake Off was her desire to focus on other projects.

However, the news still came as a shock to fans when it broke back in January 2020. In a statement at the time, Toksvig wrote:

“When stepping down from a job it is quite common for people to say they are doing so in order to spend more time with their family. Unusually, I am departing from the Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work.

“As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all-consuming show. Spending time with Prue [Leith], Paul [Hollywood] and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life. These are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.”

On the surface, Toksvig's stated reasons for leaving seem completely innocuous. However, other reports suggest that there was more going on underneath the surface.

READ MORE: What happened to Sophie Faldo? Great British Bake Off 2017 winner

For instance, The Sun subsequently claimed that Toksvig was unhappy on set, quoting a source as saying:

“The atmosphere on set had been lively and upbeat, but as time went on Sandi seemed to be enjoying it less and less and just didn’t want to get involved.

“She spent most of her time hiding out in what looked like a bijou shepherd’s hut she’d had set up, knitting on her own — and quite often grumbling about it all."

Maybe her departure was inevitable, irrespective of any other projects Toksvig might have had on the back burner.

Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding Sandi Toksvig has since moved on to other Channel 4 shows (Credit: Channel 4)

What is Sandi Toksvig up to now?

Whatever the reasons behind her sudden departure, there's no doubt that Toksvig has kept busy.

Since leaving Bake Off, the Danish-born comic and presenter has concentrated on two series for Channel 4.

The first, The Write Offs, focuses on adult illiteracy, a cause close to Toksvig's heart. The second, Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig, is a British-based travel series.

Given that her career to date has encompassed everything from writing to acting and political activism, it was never likely that Toksvig would be out of the spotlight for long.

Still, following the mixed response to Matt Lucas, many Bake Off fans would no doubt welcome her back with open arms.

Matt Lucas Sandi Toksvig Matt Lucas is Sandi Toksvig's replacement on the show (Credit: Channel 4)

What did Sandi Toksvig say about her replacement Matt Lucas?

Perhaps out of respect to her replacement, Toksvig has been very tight-lipped on Matt Lucas' performance.

In fact, when series 11 of Bake Off dropped on September 22nd 2020, Toksvig didn't even mark the event with a tweet. Instead, she has remained entirely focused on her new commitments, sending out a message about The Write Offs on September 29.

However, just because Sandi Toksvig has remained diplomatic doesn't mean that the rest of the internet has been so restrained.

While many fans have reacted warmly, some have also unfavourably compared Lucas to his predecessor. The pressure of the situation has clearly not passed Lucas by.

During an interview with Rob Brydon, for instance, he confessed that he "could have done better" during the show. As he put it:

"I think that when I was watching the Bake Off which I've just started hosting and I was like, 'Oh I should have done a gag there, oh why did you do that?'"

When you're performing for such a significant audience, even seasoned professionals can clearly feel the strain.

Why did Sandi Toksvig leave Bake Off Sandi Toksvig is also actively involved in political activism (Credit: Alamy/Santo Basone)

How tall is Sandi Toksvig?

Aside from her razor-sharp wit and natural presenting skills, Toksvig is perhaps most well-known for her diminutive physique.

The 62-year-old is five feet tall and regularly receives feedback on her height. However, as she explained in an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, she remains baffled why some people are so interested. As she put it:

"I am 5ft tall myself and it is rare that I meet someone new who doesn’t comment on my height. I am curious that the world is so interested but it was ever thus."

is Sandi Toksvig married Sandi Toksvig with her wife Debbie (Credit: Alamy/ZUMA Press Inc)

Is Sandi Toksvig married?

Toksvig has been married to Debbie Toksvig since December 2014. The pair have actually been together since 2007, however, they were initially unable to get married to due marriage laws against same-sex couples.

The two renewed their civil partnership vows on the same day that same-sex marriage became legal, before officially marrying a few months later. The pair currently reside in a houseboat in Wandsworth, London.

READ MORE: Where did Liam Charles come in Bake Off and is he married?

Toksvig also has three children from a previous relationship. She confirmed in an interview with The Telegraph that she decided to come out so that they wouldn't be ashamed of having two mothers.

She also revealed that, after coming out, she and her family had been forced into hiding for two weeks after receiving death threats.