After seven years of soggy bottoms, burnt biscuits and who could forget, Baked Alaska-gate, fans of the Great British Bake Off gave an emotional farewell to the show on the BBC.
Since the first series was screened in 2010, GBBO has become both an unlikely ratings winner and a British TV institution. Each week more than 10m viewers have tuned in to see the contestants sweat it out in the Bake Off tent as they have tried - and often failed - to produce the perfect Genoese sponge, build gravity defying constructions out of gingerbread and make unpronounceable Eastern European pastries with only the very basic instructions.
Last night, with the usual large helping of innuendo from Mel Giedroyc and and Sue Perkins, Candice Brown was crowned the 2016 best baker.
The PE teacher, 31, took the title ahead of rivals Jane Beedle and Andrew Smyth and said it was the biggest moment of her life so far. Brown admitted: “I have low self belief, even though my friends and family constantly build my confidence up. So it was a big moment in my life, probably the biggest so far.”
Edd Kimber, from Bradford, who won the first series of the show has witnessed the GBBO phenomena first hand. He said: “Since it was announced GBBO was leaving the BBC I’ve done interviews for the Washington Post and CNN, which is pretty surreal when you think about it. Had it been as big as it is now, I don’t think I would even have applied to be on it. I was pretty shy back then and initially we thought it was going to be a little daytime show, which might do quite well, but nothing more than that.
“It is a privilege to have been there since the start and it certainly changed my life. When I stepped into the tent I was a debt collector for Yorkshire Bank in Leeds. Now I’m working on my fourth cookery book and spend my days writing and talking about food. I now have my dream job and it’s all thanks to the GBBO.”
It’s not quite the end for the technical challenges and weekly showstoppers, more a pause between courses. With the BBC unwilling to pay Love Productions the £25m it wanted to keep the show, next year it will move to its new home on Channel 4. However, with Mary Berry and Mel and Sue remaining loyal to the Beeb, judge Paul Hollywood will be the only member of the original GBBO team casting his eye over the inevitably teetering croquembouches. There have been rumours that the BBC will launch a brand new baking show, but Berry & Co have remained tight lipped about future plans.
Perkins said: “We have made no decisions whatsoever. We haven’t actually all three got together, but we will do something because we’re good pals and who knows what that will be. It may not be baking, you never know.”
Even before last night’s final was screened, celebrity fans of the show were already in mourning. Comedian Emma Kennedy tweeted: “Slightly feel we should all spend the day writing poems about how much we loved GBBO, for tonight it dies.”
However, Edd, who has just launched a new foodie podcast Stir the Pot, remained slightly more optimistic.
He said: “I hope they don’t change the formula too much, but it has to be different. I like to think it will be the Great British Bake Off 2.0.”
Even before the final was screened, celebrity fans of the show were already in mourning. Comedian Emma Kennedy tweeted: “Slightly feel we should all spend the day writing poems about how much we loved GBBO for tonight it dies.”
However, Edd, who has just launched a new foodie podcast Stir the Pot, remained slightly more optimistic. He said: “I don’t think the move to Channel 4 will be the death of the show. I hope they don’t change the formula too much, but it has to be different. I like to think it with be the Great British Bake Off 2.0.”