Channel 4’s biggest show is back, so we’re recapping the best moments from every episode
By Simon Ward, Content Editor + Jack Prescott, Senior Staff Writer
Warning: this story contains spoilers for episodes 1-10 of The Great British Bake Off. Find it in Apps & Games > All 4
The Great British Bake Off 2020 has been unlike any other year. But then, 2020 has been unlike any other year, period. The show has been a ten-week respite from all the other stuff going on the world. A show where the most important thing in the world is whether chocolate can set in a 35-degree heatwave (spoiler: it can’t).
Each week, we have been recapping the best bits from Channel 4’s much-loved show – from the crying (or tiers) to the Star Baker smiles. Read on below for our fully comprehensive recap featuring every episode from this year’s Bake Off…
Week 10: The Final
Laura was predictably Laura in the final
So much had been made of Laura Adlington making the final after Hermine was booted out last week. Never far from failure, but equally so close to perfection, she has divided fans at home. But we’re huge Laura fans; she’s a messy baker who wears her heart (and, let’s face it, most of her bake) on her sleeves.
Her final did not start well. Or rather, it started as many people expected. Her custard slice Signature featured custard with the consistency of thin soup, and a buttery pastry devoid of butter. She added raspberries to the top for decoration, but even they jumped off the bake, perhaps aware that ship had already sunk.
Her walnut whirl Technical was sadly no better, with some timing issues that left her in third place… out of three. Her rainbow dessert tower did impress the judges in the Show Stopper challenge, but not enough for Prue and Paul (or even the cameras during the announcement) to put her in contention for the crown.
Each of these Show Stoppers was meant to represent the baker’s journey in Bake Off, so a rainbow was so appropriate for Laura. She has cheered us up week in, week out with her boundless enthusiasm, the way she had managed her setbacks and her overwhelming love for baking. Very much the tent’s pot of gold.
Dave missed out… but only just
The most improved baker in Bake Off history is how the show described Dave Friday. It would be hard to argue. There were certainly some weeks where he was lucky to stay in the contest, but stick it out he did. And, in the final, he was easily the most consistent of three finalists, delivering in each challenge.
His caramel latte custard slices, while a bit stodgy, were well-liked by the judges. And his walnut whirls claimed first place in the Technical, again showing how far he has developed throughout this competition. But it was his audacious Show Stopper that very, very, very nearly bagged him the Bake Off cake stand.
To represent his journey on the show, his dessert tower featured a number of bakes that had been marked down – his “tower of redemption”, he called it. And it nearly paid off, as Paul and Prue worked their way through it, complimenting his sponge and then brownies. But he lost it at the final hurdle.
While Dave might not have won as many hearts as Laura or Peter (although a final image of him cradling his newborn son came pretty darn close), he’s very much the spirit of Bake Off, and possibly 2020 itself; an amateur baker who learned and learned and eventually excelled. We stand outside and applaud you, Dave.
It had to be. Peter wins The Great British Bake Off
Possibly designed in a lab by scientists who wanted to make everyone feel a little bit old, Peter Sawkins had to win Bake Off. He’s been watching the contest since he was a child, which judging by the photos that appeared, could have been two weeks ago. Winning was legitimately his childhood dream, and he succeeded.
After winning Star Baker in the first week, we thought Peter would romp to victory. But it took him until the penultimate week to gain his second SB. But that’s like all great champions, peaking when you need to peak. And so that proved here.
Dave certainly gave him a run for his money in this final, which caused the judges to briefly mull over the idea of a draw. Fortunately, they only had one cake stand and nobody could leave the bubble to fetch another one, so Peter rightly claimed victory. The youngest ever finalist, and now youngest ever winner.
It was revealed in the closing montage that Peter had returned to university after filming had finished, and his housemates had no idea that he had won, and would have only found out at the same time as all of us. Which begs the question: where did he keep that giant cake stand in a student flat for all those months?
Bake Off will be missed, but it did its job so, so well
And so another year of The Great British Bake Off is over, but this feels like even more of a loss. As seen by the throng of producers, runners, production and hotel staff and the vital cleaners cheering on the finalists, it has been a monumental task creating TV like this during a pandemic, but we’re so glad they did.
It has been ten weeks of utter joy, where a nice guy finished first. Noel Fielding and new host Matt Lucas have been superb. Prue Leith managed not to tweet out the winner. And Paul Hollywood even dished out a few handshakes in a year when nobody has touched anyone’s hands for nearly ten months. Roll on 2021.
Episode 9: Pâtisserie Week
Time to say goodbye to Hermine
Hermine was none the wiser that Matt Lucas had snuck her recipe sheet in his back pocket.
Noooooooo! One of the absolute stars of this year’s show, Hermine, has been knocked out. And our hearts have been shattered into a million pieces, like a mashed-up pavlova.
It all went wrong for Hermine in the Show Stopper round, when she admitted – just moments after everyone had started – that she was pretty much winging it with her cube cake recipe after messing it up in practice. That’s a bold move at this stage of the competition, but it was a risk that didn’t come off. Here’s hoping we see this wonderful woman on our screens again very soon.
Laura just about survives – again
Look, we love Laura to bits. But even she would probably admit that she’s fortunate to be in the Bake Off Final. This was another week in which she kept her place in the competition by the slightest of margins after struggling in more than one of the rounds.
But let’s look at it another way. Laura is a survivor. She has the tenacity and the strength to brush off all these near-eliminations and come back fighting. And if that isn’t an inspirational lesson in this year of all years, then we don’t know what is.
Peter wins Star Baker
From his straight-yet-tasty Danish horn to his booze-free savarin and his chocolate, raspberry and pistachio cube cakes, Peter smashed it out of the park this week.
He laid out his stall early on: after overcomplicating things in recent weeks, it was time to go back to basics and wow the judges with some straight-up tasty goods. And boy, did he deliver. With the breezy confidence that has become his trademark – along with a brilliantly quirky vocabulary – Peter confidently grasped a place in next week’s Final. Could we be looking at the Bake Off 2020 champion?
It all got a bit messy at someone’s work station
If this was a competition to create as much culinary chaos as humanly possible, Laura would have been crowned the winner this week after causing havoc during the Show Stopper round.
It was like she had just emerged from a chocolatey massacre, such was the mess on her and around her. Still, what’s the harm in a little untidiness when the pressure is on and a place in the Bake Off Final is at stake? More power to her, we say!
The first task for the bakers in the semi-final was to create a Danish “Horn of Plenty”. This is Bake Off, after all. The majority of the contestants made the prudish decision to lay their horns down flat when presenting them to the judges, but not Dave. Oh, no. His choice of positioning was, ahem, slightly suggestive. Was this going to go unnoticed by the judges? Absolutely not.
Episode 8: Dessert Week
No one could master the Sussex Pond Pudding
Paul was wondering when he should tell Prue he had no idea what a Sussex Pond Pudding was
Hands up if you had heard of this dessert before? Anyone? Anyone at all? This suet-based dish, which looked like something to be found towards the back of a Victorian cookbook, had the bakers well and truly flummoxed. Like, seriously, who puts a whole lemon in the middle of a pudding anyway?
Let’s be clear: not all of the attempts were a complete disaster. One or two of them at least maintained their structural integrity, but this was a task which definitely brought the contestants down a peg or two.
Hermine won Star Baker – again!
The wonderful Hermine has gone from strength to strength in the Bake Off tent, winning Star Baker for the second week on the trot. Her chocolate and raspberry jelly cake in the Show Stopper round was truly something to behold; a work of genuine art that blew Prue and Paul’s minds.
Does this make Hermine the favourite now? With four super-talented bakers heading into the semi-finals, it’s hard to tell. But she’s definitely in with a massive shout of going all the way. And who would begrudge this absolute ray of sunshine the victory?
Marc left the tent this week
If there was an award for Most Improved Baker, Marc would be the outright winner. After enduring a shaky start on the show, he really came into his own these last few weeks – winning the hearts of everyone with his baking skills, down-to-earth charm and inspiring journey.
But someone has to go, and this time it was Marc’s turn to say adios to the tent. Despite his best efforts, there wasn’t a huge amount that went right for him this week. His troubles were topped off with a Show Stopper that Paul Hollywood compared to “cement”. Unless that’s the brief, that’s never a good thing to hear him say.
Peter just about survived
Who saw this coming? Peter, usually so effortlessly confident, so in control, was wobbling like his jelly cake this week, dancing very close to the edge of elimination.
After botching his Sussex Pond Puddings, the Scot’s mini cheesecakes didn’t exactly knock the judges’ socks off. With lots riding on him nailing the Show Stopper, Peter’s heart must have sank when Paul Hollywood – somewhat ostentatiously – struggled to cut into his snow globe cake. Not to worry, though, because with Marc’s own cake resembling asphalt, Peter was through to the semi-finals.
The Bake Off Grasshopper
Hello, who’s this then? With Laura working dilligently as the judges stopped by for a chinwag, a mischievous grasshopper – an insectoid intruder, if you will – was spotted climbing over one of her pots.
Much like a pigeon landing on the grass of Centre Court, this sort of whimsical occurrence doesn’t go unnoticed, and if Bake Off’s social media team is to be believed, this little critter has now attainted legendary status. If the wee fella doesn’t make an appearance in the semis and the final, we’ll be very disappointed.
Episode 7: 1980s Week
Big tent shock as Laura survives another week
Laura Adlington wasn’t so much skating on thin ice this week as standing in a lake with no sign it had ever frozen. Although that would still be more frozen than her ice cream cake. Tough pastry in the quiche Signature and fourth place in the Technical with over fried finger doughnuts all proceeded that Show Stopper.
Her “ice cream cake” was quite the achievement, in that it resembled neither ice cream nor cake. She forgot to press the “ice” button on the ice cream churner, meaning it wasn’t cold. It collapsed in the freezer. And she spent the rest of the challenge touching it up like she was trying to apply lipstick to a puddle.
And yet. AND YET…
Lottie leaves the competition this week
Laura was saved by Lottie Bedlow in another performance of “Curse of the Star Baker”. She actually did alright in the Signature, with a cooked breakfast quiche the judges called “perfectly cooked”, “neat” and “delicious”. But the wheels started to come off in the Technical with fifth place – one position behind Laura.
Then the Show Shopper arrived where, alongside the wheels, she lost the doors, roof, engine, seats and then possibly the car keys themselves. Her cassette ice cream cake looked more like a dirty protest, and when she unsealed the freezer to reveal the results, it was like grimly prizing open the door to a festival toilet.
One of this year’s most popular contestants, Lottie is a big loss to the tent.
Hermine wins Star Baker – yes, another different Star Baker
Hermine becomes the seventh contestant to claim Star Baker. If you’re counting, that’s seven in seven weeks. Coming into 1980s Week, she had been unlucky to miss out on numerous occasions, something Prue Leith interestingly commented on, but her claim on the number one spot here was never in doubt.
Well, it was briefly in doubt when she froze her shortcrust pastry in the Signature and nearly didn’t get her quiches cooked. But the judges loved everything she did, including first place in the Technical. Star Baker has been a bit of a poisoned chalice in this series, but Hermine might – might – be a proper contender.
Ice cream in 35-degree heat was… interesting
As Britain dealt with some of the hottest temperatures on record in the summer, the Bake Off tent opted to make their bakers stand in front of deep fat fryers for one challenge, and then literally make ice cream in the other. Slightly cruel? Perhaps. Entertaining television when we really need it? Absolutely.
Somehow Marc Elliott (“looks amazing”), Peter Sawkins (“absolutely delicious”) and Hermine (“beautiful”) did quite well. The rest of the bakers lay somewhere on a barometer between “really quite poor” to “whatever Lottie has made”. Next week is dessert week, and should the heat continue, we’re hoping for ice sculptures.
More mangoes, Peter’s frying debut and Paul Hollywood’s ice cream opinions
Yes, we once again saw mangoes infiltrate Bake Off as Hermine’s holiday ice cream cake was laden with them. Did they buy them in bulk during the first lockdown? We learnt Scottish Peter Sawkins has never fried anything before in what we can only assume is some determined life mission to a defy a national custom.
Finally, as Paul Hollywood was judging Laura Adlington’s appropriately titled “death by chocolate” ice cream cake, he remarked the brownies she had added had no place being in ice cream. He might want to take that up with Ben and his good friend Jerry, who clearly feel very differently…
Episode 6: Japanese Week
All the bakers stepped it up this week
Prue was less than impressed by Paul’s fork technique.
After a few episodes where the moniker of “Britain’s best amateur bakers” seemed less a badge of honour and more like a sarcastic slur, everyone finally found their A-game. We had strong steamed buns Signatures, consistent Matcha Mille Crepe Cake Technicals and brilliant kawaii cake Show Shoppers from all the bakers.
Gone are the spectacular fails (oh how we miss you, Rowan!). Instead, we’re at the point in the competition – as the judges observed – where even a minor mistake could send a baker home. Obviously, a big mistake like setting the tent on fire could also send them home, but we’re saying the bar is much higher now.
Paul Hollywood doesn’t like gherkins
In much the same way as mangoes have infiltrated the tent in recent weeks, here we saw two bakers – Lottie Bedlow and Mark Lutton – use gherkins in their Signature steamed buns. And in Paul Hollywood’s 100th episode of The Great British Bake Off, we found out something new… Paul doesn’t like gherkins.
Has the blue-eyed boy from Liverpool ever said something so universally true in the tent before? Possibly not. Either way, both Lottie and Mark had to adapt their burger steamed buns to suit his taste. Naturally, he then called both bakes “dry” – something no doubt a bit of wet gherkin would have sorted…
The curse of the Star Baker almost struck Laura
Well, this was a surprise. Last week’s Star Baker Laura Adlington went to pieces here. After finishing last in the Technical, her confidence going into the Show Stopper was shot – and she was in tears by the midway point, convinced she was going home before they had even tried her upside-down pineapple kawaii cake.
But despite some squashing issues in the sponge that made it look less like a pineapple and more like a Pokémon that had hurled itself off a bridge, the judges said it tasted “amazing.” Ultimately, that saved her. Whereas Mark Lutton…
Mark left the tent this week
We’re now down to just one Mark (well, Marc) as Mark Lutton’s time on the show ended in Japanese Week. His steamed bun burger Signature didn’t wow the judges, while his crepe cake was too thick and lop-side in the Technical – and fifth place at this point in the competition definitely put him in the relegation zone.
His “Avo Baby” kawaii cake certainly fulfilled the brief of being cute and charming (unlike Hermine’s effort that seemed intended for a wake), but Paul Hollywood said it was getting to the point of being “inedible” when he sampled it. Everyone in the tent was in tears, showing you how much cheerful Mark will be missed.
Lottie wins Star Baker – the sixth unique Star Baker this year
Another week, another new Star Baker following a commanding performance from Lottie Bedlow. And, again, it seems incredible the Hollywood Handshake was absent, this time from her “Into The Japanese Woods” kawaii cake.
Here, she created a jiggle cake (a sponge so soft it actually jiggles!) that Paul said was indistinguishable from ones he’s tasted in Japan. He loved it. He couldn’t stop talking about it. It was like the end of Ratatouille with the surly food critic being presented with a food memory from his childhood. But still, no dice.
For anyone who has asked “how do the bakers practice now they’re in a locked in Covid-secure bubble?” There’s a practice tent…
One of those questions we’ve all been Googling since the start of this series, Lottie revealed there was a practice tent. So now we know. She didn’t, however, confirm if there’s a practice Prue Leith…
Episode 5: Pastry Week
Bake Off is so unpredictable this year – and it’s better because of that
In past Bake Offs, you could make a decent stab at the series winner after a handful of episodes, and more often than not, you’d be right on the money. But this year is as changeable as, well, practically everything else in 2020.
Mark Lutton went from last week’s Star Baker, into the drop zone here. Previous SB Marc Elliott also had a shocker, while Linda Rayfield – who has been in the mix for the top on numerous occasions – crumbled like her Caged Tart. One bad week and the bakers are sent packing from the bubble and back into the real world – a thought scarier than leaving the competition itself.
Linda invented “dipping eclairs”
It was quite the Technical for Linda Rayfield. She ended up making the choux pastry for the salted caramel and raspberry éclairs three times, with each batch looking progressively less like éclairs, and more like brutally squashed churros.
In the end, time – much like everything for Linda in Pastry Week – was not on her side. She didn’t even have time to add filling. Although squeezing filling into those flat éclairs would have been like trying to inflate a pancake. So, she served it as a dipping sauce in a DIY end product Paul Hollywood generously called “terrible”.
Peter won his first Technical
Peter Sawkins would perhaps be disappointed his Week 1 Star Baker turn hasn’t materialised into a dominant showing in the competition. He’s been consistent, he’s certainly towards the top of the tent, but he’s still a long way from the win, and subsequent primetime cooking show, probably called The Cake Whisperer.
But his éclairs wowed the judges, giving the accounting and finance student a first win in the Technical. It’s not necessarily an indication of future greatness (Linda proved that with her Technical win last week!), but it’s certainly the kind of move he needs to make at this midway point. And they did look delicious.
Linda left the tent this week
If Linda Rayfield was a Premier League striker, you’d say she missed every kick and scored three own goals (and quite possibly got lost on her way back to the team bus). When asked for pasties in the Signature, she made samosas. When asked for éclairs in the Technical, she made… something.
By the time the Caged Tart Show Stopper came around, her cage disintegrated, leaving her with a selection of brightly coloured worms that she laid on the side like they’d been killed in battle. Mark Lutton’s cage also crumbled, and he will feel like he got away with it this week as Linda was the one to leave.
Laura was a very worthy Star Baker… at last
Another week and another new Star Baker as Laura Adlington put in a very strong showing in all three challenges. Her Show Stopper, in particular, was a thing of beauty. Less a cage, and more the kind of idyllic domed pavilion you’d see at Kew Gardens. Not only that, the judges said it tasted “amazing”.
It was so good, you can only assume Paul forgot to dose his palms with alcohol gel before the judging because it was screaming out for a handshake. The praise meant a lot to digital manager Laura, and peaking at this point in the contest is a good sign as we move closer and closer to the finale.
Episode 4: Chocolate Week
The Signature challenge was BRUTAL
Old Blue Eyes wasn’t having any of it, was he? We’re midway through the contest, and a gruff Paul Hollywood judged the brownies like he suspected all the bakers were responsible for writing vicious one-star reviews about his latest book.
In fairness to Paul, this was not a good challenge for the tent. As Sura Selvarajah pronounced, if any of the bakers had simply produced a basic brownie, they would have been away. At best, they largely produced cakey traybakes. At worst, some kind of warm chocolate soup. Sura didn’t even get hers out of the tin!
We all learnt about brownies, possibly for the first time
Up there with the Great Baking Debates (see: Jaffa Cake – is it a cake or a biscuit?), we all discovered brownies are meant to be gooey in the middle, with a hard shell on top. Bake it for too long, they said, and it turns into a cake-like texture (which is bad, apparently). Not long enough, and it falls apart quicker than a baker’s confidence when Paul calls their proposed methodology “interesting”.
What we’re trying to say is we’ve clearly never made brownies properly. But we weren’t alone. Lottie Bedlow accurately said of hers that it ‘“looks like an actual car crash”, while Laura Adlington – who largely had a good week – served up raw brownies that Prue piled on as also being “too sweet”.
Prue really, really enjoyed Hermine’s Show Stopper
Well. We’ve all been there. The moment you eat something so delicious that your body makes an audible and involuntary pleasure noise. That happened this week, as Prue tucked into her Show Stopper, which Matt Lucas immediately dubbed a “Pruegasm”. Will this be the new Hollywood Handshake? We can only wonder.
Elsewhere, we saw Peter Sawkins once again listening to his cakes, proving that being a good listener pay dividends in all walks of life. Meanwhile, Mark Lutton accidentally compared his wife to an elephant when he suggested that the two share a favourite alcoholic tipple. Needless to say, neither will forget.
Sura left the tent, but Lottie had a very lucky escape
The Show Stopper proved to the crucial final hurdle for Lottie Bedlow and Sura Selvarajah – after a week of stumbling and tripping over ever hurdle chocolate week had put in front of them. After poor Signatures and finishing last (Lottie) and seventh (Sura) respectively in the Technical, it was hard to separate them.
Lottie’s white chocolate celebration tier cake was like a white chocolate Sagrada Família, in that it was tall, impressive-looking and slightly unfinished, but the judges called it “bone dry”. Fortunately for the pantomime producer, Sura’s effort was raw and gave Paul and Prue a much easier decision.
Mark’s consistency pays off with Star Baker
Yes, it was Mark Lutton who scooped Star Baker this week, holding off another consistent rival in Peter Sawkins for the win. That means we’re halfway through Bake Off and we haven’t seen a repeat SB, making it one of the most open contests in years. No one can say they’ve got a hand on the cake stand yet.
Linda Rayfield has certainly pushed herself into contention in recent weeks, with a good all-round performance capped with a win in the chocolate babka Technical. It also led to this week’s best innuendo with Matt Lucas’ advice to Linda when her dough wasn’t rising: “Maybe if you stroke it, it’ll get a bit bigger.” Classic.
Episode 3: Bread Week
It was the week of the wobbles
Bread Week is always a toughie, as Paul Hollywood generally struts around the tent with all the confidence of a peacock who thinks they invented bread. And the nerves showed in the bakers. Previous Star Bakers Dave Friday and Peter Sawkinsstumbled, with Dave, in particular, hovering around the drop zone.
The armoured guard didn’t have a good week, with his flat rainbow bagels in the Technical and a Show Stopper where his depiction of his family home looked like the “after” shot from Britain’s Dodgiest Builders. But then, nobody had what you’d call a good week. Fortunately…
Rowan’s time in the tent is over
If entertainment is what you’re after, Rowan Williams should have been saved AT ALL COSTS. However, if you want to stick to the idea that it’s a baking contest, then obviously Rowan had to go. He narrowly escaped last week, and it was right he finally exited here. But, boy, we’ll miss him a lot.
Rarely complimented by the judges, the man was still a walking charisma (and occasional baking) machine. His shrivelled bagels – normally something that requires medical attention – weren’t good, and while his Show Stopper looked gorgeous, it tragically epitomised his time in the tent: all style, no substance.
Marc scooped Star Baker
It wasn’t a week where anyone covered themselves in glory, but Marc Elliott did deserve Star Baker. While so many bakers have been consistently inconsistent, flitting between glory and disaster in the space of the same week, there’s been very little thrown at Marc that he hasn’t dealt with admirably.
As well as pinning himself firmly as A Contender, the bronze resin sculptor also revealed that his family had joined him for the show’s duration in the Bake Off bubble, finishing this week’s episode by embracing them. It would have warmed your heart in any other series, but in 2020, the nation hasn’t stopped crying since.
Hollywood Handshake for Hermine
So taken was Paul with the 39-year-old accountant’s sweet and savoury soda bread in the Signature round, he threw out his hand in congratulations. Fans of The Art Of The Handshake will have enjoyed how coy this one seemed. There was almost a body feint, a drop of the shoulder before he struck. Very stealthy.
That’s three weeks, and two handshakes so far – which is more than most people have mustered during the entirety of this past year.
Do we know who’s going to win yet?
Rather than thrive, Bread Week was something the bakers simply had to endure – like the Pillars of Hercules (or breadsticks, in this case). So do we have any idea who might walk away with the coveted cake stand at the end of it all? Well, the pack of proper contenders is certainly narrowing.
Sura Selvarajah had a better week than most and was definitely in the running for Star Baker alongside Marc, another contender. Lottie Bedlow has been consistent. Peter’s stumbles here shouldn’t discount him, or his love of the gluten-free option. Hermine, Mark Lutton and Dave are also well in the (cake) mix.
Episode 2: Biscuit Week
The innuendos are back
Part of the charm of Bake Off is waiting for someone in the tent to say something about cakes that sounds a bit saucy. You might call us childish, whereas we’d say, “SHUT UP, IT HAS BEEN A TOUGH YEAR, GIVE US THIS ONE THING.” Thankfully, Prue Leith didn’t miss her chance to give the nation what they wanted.
“I remember worrying a bit about your very large nuts,” she cooed at Project Manager Mark Lutton. She knew exactly what she was doing, and we loved it.
Lottie Bedlow gets the first Hollywood Handshake
Before this series, rumours swirled that the Hollywood Handshake – the moment when Paul gets so overwhelmed by eating that he’s rendered speechless so thrusts his hand forwards instead – was going to be axed due to the pandemic. Would it be the Hollywood Fist Bump, or possibly the Hollywood Wave?
Thanks to Bake Off being filmed in a Covid-secure bubble, there was no fear. Lottie’s Florentines in the Signature challenge moved Paul to offer up his hand for the first time this series – and a gesture that arguably has even more meaning in 2020. Hopefully alcohol gel was available for her immediately afterwards…
Dave makes his move as Star Baker
There was another strong outing from last week’s Star Baker Peter Sawkins, but it was Armoured Guard Dave Friday who came top, winning the Technical and lauded heavily in the other rounds (including the fabled Florentine “snap”, which we all just heard about for the first time in our lives and are now instant experts on).
Could he be a contender? So used are we to seeing timid bakers sheepishly present their perfect bakes as if they’ve just broken Prue’s toilet, Dave’s out-and-out competitiveness is certainly a step change. He’s on a mission, that man.
Rowan was very, very… very lucky to stay
Accountant Makbul Patel became the second contestant to leave the tent. Mak certainly wasn’t going to win the thing, and failed to wow the judges in any of the challenges, but should he have gone? Step forward Rowan Williams, whose continuation in the contest rattled the normally tranquil world of social media.
His Signature waistcoat-themed Florentines failed to impress, with only half of them decorated (which is putting it kindly), he came last in the Technical, and his biscuit lighthouse centrepiece in the Showstopper was a maritime disaster. An escape not seen since Steve McQueen’s motorcycle jump.
Mangoes were absolutely everywhere
A trend spotted on social media, that it appeared this episode was brought to you by mangoes. There was mango in Mak and Hermine’s Florentines. The Technical featured mango curd. And the Showstopper was “decorate a mango using nothing but mango.” OK, it wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised us…
Episode 1: Cake Week
The Prime Minister started the show… twice
After the PM gave his latest speech (with Very Clear Instructions on screen that Bake Off was next), up popped Matt Lucas doing a spookily-accurate impression of the man himself. Lucas, who replaced Sandi Toksvig, was an instant hit here, looking like he had won a competition throughout episode 1.
He sang and ate everything in touching distance, and towed the whimsy line well. He was especially good during THAT moment (more on that soon), making fun of himself to lighten a mood heavier than some of the Battenberg on offer.
Pinapplecakegate was the most dramatic TV this year
Blimey. If you’ve been catching up on shows like Line of Duty during lockdown, Bake Off managed its own gasp-inducing high drama here. After the bakers had finished their individual pineapple upside-down cakes, Sura threw her arms up to swipe away a fly… and also Dave’s cakes at the same time.
They hit the floor, and she was mortified by the unfortunate accident as Dave did the “no, no, it’s absolutely fine” face of someone absolutely seething. To confound things, a red-eyed Sura was then crowned the winner of this same Technical.
Face cakes were one of the all-time great Showstopper challenges
The brief: make a cake bust of their hero. The reality: expected. Any time Bake Off has asked its bakers to create these kinds of monstrosities (remember Paul’s bread lion and Rob’s Dalek biscuit tower), hilarity has always ensued.
No hero came out unscathed. David Bowie looked like a melted candle. Freddie Mercury looked like Frank Sidebottom. Tom DeLonge looked like a serial killer in The Simpsons. David Attenborough looked like he had just given up. It was all utterly, utterly perfect and this whole challenge should be watched on repeat.
Loriea became the first out of the tent (and the village)
It was revealed at the top the show that all the bakers had formed a mini-Bake Off village (a spin-off waiting to happen!) as an isolated bubble community, with the potential of not seeing their families again for seven weeks due to quarantine. So the first one out of the door had even more meaning this year.
It was Loreia Campbell-Claire, the 27-year-old Diagnostic Radiographer from Durham who left the tent. Prior to the show, she said she rarely follows a recipe exactly… and so it proved, as she failed to impress in any of the three challenges. Although Dave and Linda should both consider themselves lucky too.
Star Baker Peter sets the early benchmark
The least surprising bit was Paul Sawkins – a 20-year-old accounting and finance student from Edinburgh, and the youngest contestant in this series – scooping Star Baker. He was strong throughout, with a Showstopper that actually looked like Sir Chris Hoy (albeit a Sir Chris Hoy with a very small head).
He won our hearts by listening to his sponge – something he learnt from Bake Off series 3, apparently – and his consistency in all three challenges makes him one to watch. Sura – who was involved in literally every big moment – also looks like she’ll go far, as does Hermine, with Rowan being a dark horse.
Wasn’t it all just really, really nice?
While it was certainly the most dramatic opener in the history of the show, it was also noticeable how well gelled the bakers were together.
Perhaps that has come through living together for weeks prior to the show. But watching Lottie shouting out supportive words (and how long was left, constantly), or Sura dropping everything to help Laura assemble what she was optimistically calling Freddie Mercury, gave us all the feels. Welcome back, Bake Off.
When is The Great British Bake Off on TV?
The Great British Bake Off started on Tuesday 22 September at 8.15pm on Channel 4 HD (CH 104). The series will continue every Tuesday at 8pm.
It is also available after each episode has aired for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > All 4.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.