Mary Berry has quit Great British Bake Off, saying she will stay with the BBC out of "loyalty". The 81-year-old stepped down as judge ahead of the show's move to Channel 4.

"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," she said in a statement.

"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.

"Farewell to soggy bottoms."

Berry added that she hoped that fans would understand her decision to leave.

The BBC lost the show − which crowned Nadiya Hussain in last year's series − after talks broke down between the broadcaster and Love Productions, the makers of the popular cookery programme. Channel 4 swooped in with a £25m ($33m)-a-year three-year deal.

Earlier in September the 81-year-old star remained coy when asked about her future on Bake Off telling the Sun: "I have no idea, anything that happens is nothing to do with my choice." Her departure comes days after presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc confirmed that they are "not going with the dough". The dynamic duo, who have helmed the cooking show since it first aired on BBC2 in 2010 said that their shock exit was down to the fact that they didn't support the move.

Meanwhile, it is not yet known if fellow Paul Hollywood will continue in his role when the hit cooking show switches broadcaster or follow Berry out of the programme.

Mary Berry
Mary Berry has quit REUTERS/Neil Hall