“My best bit was Bread Week because I got Star Baker, and that was so cool,” she said after leaving this week. “There were great moments when Paul and Prue said you should be proud of yourself, and I will remember those forever!”
Julia added that she was proud to have passed the half-way stage: “I knew that I wouldn’t win or get to the Final, but I enjoyed every week, and to get to over half way through the series is something I am really grateful for. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I would love to do it again now I have the knowledge of how it all works!”
The end of Tuesday’s episode saw presenter Sandi Toksvig struggle to keep it together when she announced that Julia had to leave. “I am so sorry, sorry sweetheart, you did amazing you know that right?” Sandi said. “You did incredible’.
Julia said she appreciated ‘sharing a few tears’ with Sandi when the time came to leave: “At the end of the episode Sandi was very upset, when she announced I was leaving; she gave me a big hug and we both shared a few tears, and then Noel [Fielding] rallied me round. I didn’t want to go of course, but everyone has to leave sometime and I knew this was my week to go.”
Julia came to the UK from Siberia after meeting her husband aged 17; she has been ringing her family in Russia to update them on the show as they aren’t able to tune in.
“I keep Skyping my Russian family at home to tell them what is happening each week, but they don’t speak English and they are not able to watch it yet,” she said. “Hopefully I will be able to take some DVDs of the show so they can see it.
“My husband Matt’s family have of course been able to watch it, and his Nan cries each week, and was in pieces the night I left. They have been so incredibly supportive, and that means so much to me.”
While one baker had to leave, it was time for another to rise to the occasion: 19-year-old Liam Charles was named Star Baker after winning plaudits once again from Prue Leith.
“Liam just astonishes me, week after week,” Prue said. “He is something of a genius with flavour. He’s got an instinct for what goes with whatever.”
He even managed to convince Paul Hollywood despite a falling out over football: Liam admitted during the signature challenge that he was a Man Utd fan, causing Liverpool fan Paul to joke, “It’s such a shame you have to leave this week!”
The Great British Bake Off continues next Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.