ALISON Hammond has revealed the heartbreaking reason she broke down in tears after landing the Great British Bake Off job.
The Big Brother legend was tipped to stand in for comedian Matt and last week confirmed she had signed up for the Channel 4 show.
Alison, 48, announced that she had landed the new presenter role on her late mum Maria's birthday.
The This Morning star described it as a "bittersweet", saying it was an emotional moment as her mother was a huge fan of the baking programme.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Alison said: "It was so exciting, I knew the news about three weeks before announcing it.
"The story was leaked but it was fine because we were ready to go with it anyway. I was over the moon, I've been sitting on it for three weeks.
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"When it was leaked, guess who's birthday it was? My mum.
"I was kind of feeling like was it my mum who leaked this story. I'll do this on my birthday."
The emotional star said she was "devastated" that her mum is not here to see this huge new role.
Maria sadly passed away in February 2020 after a battle with liver and lung cancer.
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Breaking down in tears at the Burberry Diversity Awards 2023, Alison continued: "It was one of her favourite programmes. It makes me really emotional you even saying it."
Getting choked up, Alison said: "Sorry I'm getting emotional as it's a really big thing and the fact that she doesn't get to see it.
"I'm devastated – it's bittersweet."
Alison said she struggled to keep the news to herself and told her son Aiden, 18, weeks ago.
"Well I might have told one person, I think it was my son," she let slip.
"You're not supposed to really but I was too excited and wanted to share it with him."
Alison said she is thrilled to be joining the GBBO family and will be working alongside new colleagues, presenter Noel Fielding, and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
She told us at the star-studded event: "I'm most excited to bring home cake, I keep getting asked if I'll bring some home.
"I'm ready to work with Paul[Hollywood] and Prue[Leith], but do you know what it's not about me, it's not even about the judges – it's really about the bakers and that's what I'm going to be concentrating on."
Alison will be stepping into comedian Matt Lucas' shoes after he quit last year.
TV favourite Alison said she is excited for her new onscreen partnership, saying they will be a "dream" duo.
Speaking about Noel, she said: "He's been texting me, I had to audition and do a screen test with him.
"He said he's really excited and praised me for doing amazing on the audition and said he can't wait to work with me.
"It's going to be a dream partnership, he's a dream with anybody."
Last week Alison revealed the news on her social media posting a photo of sugary figurines on top of a Bake Off inspired cake.
She narrated a mock up press conference in the video and said: "Breaking news everyone.
"Alison Hammond is joining the team of the Great British Bake Off. Alison, have you got any words whatsoever?"
Zooming in on her face, she added: "Do you know what I'm just so very excited.
"As you can see, all my colleagues are absolutely speechless.
"We're so very happy and we can't wait to get started!"
The star captioned her video: "It’s OFFICIAL!!! It’s happening The Great British Bake off ! Let’s have it !
"The cake that is #GBBO 2023 Great British Bake Off @noel_fielding @prueleith @channel4 @paul.hollywood"
Her famous friends were quick to congratulate the star, as one raved: "Great choice!"
Fellow presenters Claudia Winkleman said: "Brilliant!" and Joel Dommett said: "Such great news!"
Alison previously entered the nation's most famous tent as a contestant on the celebrity version of the show for Stand Up 2 Cancer back in 2020.
Matt, 49, announced he was stepping down from the gig back in December after three years at the helm.
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The comedian said he could no longer host it alongside his other projects.
The Little Britain star also presents the rebooted Fantasy Football League for Sky with fellow comedian Elis James and said he wasn't able to do both.
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