Popular contestant James Hillery was the fifth baker to leave The Great British Bake Off tent in Pudding Week.
The 46-year-old banker failed to impress the judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, after his molten chocolate pudding and “sickly” ornamental trifle terrine cost him his place on the show.
Even his steamed school pudding – described as “very good” by Paul – wasn’t enough to save him as the top grade competition proved too much.
At the end of the episode Paul gave James a big hug and said: “I am all for you buddy.”
Prue added: “We will really miss James in the tent. Julia was really sobbing her eyes out and who was comforting her? James. That’s typical of James, he is just such a nice guy.”
James said, “My time has come, it’s gutting. I wanted to do this to put myself against other really good bakers to see how good I was. To be part of that has been really humbling.”
He added, “It is a huge honour to get into the show, and to get half way through the series was such a privilege it will stay with me the rest of my life. You have the pressure of environment and everyone has their ups and downs but the camaraderie was really great and friendships have been built.”
He also paid tribute to the judges: “I really like Paul, he is such an interesting character, and I think deep down he is a little bit shy. One day he gave Liam a big hug when he was a bit down, and all the bakers thought that was very endearing. He has got such a breadth of knowledge that he wants to share and he is so passionate about it.
“Prue has such a breadth of knowledge it can be quite intimidating, but on the first week ‘s challenge when I had a soggy bottom on my rhubarb cake she was so disarming. She said it tasted good and nothing that a bowl of custard couldn’t help, which was lovely.”
He said his worst moment on the show came in the previous week’s episode, caramel week: “My worst moment was the millionaire shortbread. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I carried on. I poured the hot caramel onto the hot biscuit bake and of course it went soggy. That will always haunt me. The time crunch was literally on, it was the enemy of the day on caramel week as the temperature in the tent was so high, everyone had to get their challenges into the fridge as soon as possible.”
Sophie Faldo was named star baker for the first time in the series, with her trifle terrine scoring particular praise in the showstopper round.
Paul said it was of the kind of quality that may be served at a Michelin Star restaurant.
The 33-year-old former army officer – and aspiring stuntwoman – also came first in the technical challenge with her molten chocolate pudding. Her fig, ginger and steamed school pudding was also highly praised in the signature challenge.
🤝🍰 Is Paul Hollywood handing out his coveted #GBBO handshakes too easily this series? 🍰🤝
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.