It’s been an emotional and intense series of The Great British Bake Off, with our bakers’ dozen breaking down in tears over the past 10 weeks as they tackled some of the show’s trickiest challenges yet.
While it seemed Steph had the title of Britain’s Best Amateur Baker in the bag as we entered the tent for our final showdown, a shock twist saw David take the crown.
But Bake Off doesn’t quite stop when you lift that all-important trophy. In her final column of the series, 2017 Bake Off champion Sophie Faldo opens up about what happens when you win the show – and what our winner may have in store…
“Congratulations to David!”
Well done on finally being the bride! He’s such a talent and I’m really glad he performed on the day. He improved, learned, and he had a good day at the right time. He had everything clear in his mind, and to do what he did and to keep a clean station I think is incredibly impressive.
I am heartbroken for Steph. It shows that it’s a competition and it does matter what happens on the day. It was really unfortunate for Steph that her bad day was on the final.
“My win will always be funny!”
People who haven’t even necessarily watched the show, I can say to them: ‘I’m the one where they announced it early!’ It slightly overshadowed the win because people were less interested in who won and were more interested in Prue [Leith] letting it slip. I still find it quite funny. I know she was devastated and found it quite dreadful, but for me, it was just funny.
“It’s such a relief when it’s over!”
Steph said it perfectly – 10 weeks can just be a week too much and you’re so glad when it’s done. It’s nice to see everyone, but they’ve been having a great time and you’ve been filming in the tent! It’s not very long until they start filming again and announce the winner, then you’re taken away to film interviews and then it’s over!
But I do remember Prue, Paul [Hollywood] and Sandi [Toksvig] bringing over champagne to the finalists and we sat and had a bit of a chat with them. That was quite nice, it was the first time we sat and spoke to judges like real human beings. It was the only time I got to enjoy being where I was.
“The judges and the hosts have been more invested in this series”
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith on The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4)
In our series, Prue, Noel and Sandi were newbies and it was very clear that they weren’t sure of themselves and where they fitted in. They’ve probably now found their feet and I think they’re pushing the envelope a little bit on what they can get away with. It’s quite funny to see Paul and Prue getting a little bit more involved.
Paul hugging Steph was very unusual. It’s very different when someone’s getting flustered and upset for no reason – but Steph had a reason. Paul was gutted for her. For him to be moved that much to comfort someone showed the gravity of the situation.
“Forget all your expectations”
My advice to David is 100 per cent, go back to your normal life. Just slot back in as if nothing has happened, and then you can just enjoy things when they come along, as there are a few little nice perks, but it’s a tough world out there.
Go back to your passion for baking again. There’s a lot of expectations in what you’re expected to do, but I’d say forget it all, enjoy baking again and just crack on with your life.
“The industry can be brutal”
You can suffer trolling. I think people assume because it’s Bake Off and the show’s really lovely that it wouldn’t be such an issue.
The people who run the show and all the production are amazing – but once you finish, that chord does get cut and you are just like everyone else in the entertainment industry, which is frankly ruthless and rather arbitrary and so there’s no forgiveness for the fact you’re a Bake Off contestant.
If the public decides that there’s something about you they don’t like, there’s no-one there to protect you.
If you decide you want to forge a career, but there’s just no market for you, you will fail, irrespectively of what you want or how hard you try at it. It can be just as brutal – just because we bake cakes under bunting, it doesn’t make a difference.
The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 in 2020