The Radio Times logo

10 times The Great British Bake Off broke our hearts

You might think the Bake Off is feel-good fun, but there are moments of genuine shock and sadness sprinkled among all that sponge logo
Published: Sunday, 2nd August 2015 at 9:15 am

The Great British Bake Off is supposed to be bunting-topped, sugar-encrusted light entertainment. A group of delightful amateur bakers battle it out in a marquee to be crowned the ultimate star baker by the Queen of Cake Mary Berry. What is there to get upset about?


The answer: a lot. What can we say? We are sweet and sensitive souls. (Especially when we've overdosed on cake and creme patissiere...)

Here are 10 moments that could have had us reaching for the tissues:


Ah, bingate. Last year's Bake Off drama was a big one. During a challenge, Iain's icecream failed spectacularly to set, resulting in him having to present a bin to Paul and Mary at the end. The reaction was crazy – it made Newsnight for crying out loud – and the demonisation of Diana on social media deplorable. But all Bake Off fans felt more than a little choked up when Iain realised his Baked Alaska looked like this...

When Catherine threw her dough

There Catherine was happily kneading her strudel dough when Sarah-Jane decided to teach her a new technique. But it didn't work, instead her fledgling bread flew through the tent and landed on the floor, getting covered in all sorts of yucky hair and dirt. She kept a brave face, but we could have cried when she said: "I'm not serving Mary Berry green carpet..."

The time Sue elbowed those muffins

Sweet Howard faced the first of many obstacles in Bread Week while whipping up some English muffins. Sue was hanging about nonchalantly chatting to Howard before he cried, "Oh no. Has that been leaned on?”, looking at his horribly disfigured uncooked muffin. Sue then clasped her face in her hands. “Howard I need to break something to you… I think that’s my elbow. I think that’s my elbow on your muffin. I think I’ve elbowed your muffin.”

Heartbreak, right there.

Howard's stolen custard

Poor Howard. His second test came during a trifle challenge. The Great Custard Sabotage of episode three resulted in a crucial part of Howard's trifle going missing. It was found in fellow contestant Deborah's dessert after she accidentally used his handiwork instead of her own. Howard bravely soldiered on – while we sobbed on our sofas – serving up Deborah's disappointingly “slack custard" in place of his.

When Mel tumbled Frances' biscuit tower

As if Sue's wayward elbows weren't enough. Mel also got inadvertently involved in one baker's showstopper creation in series four, sending Frances' impressive sewing-themed selection of stacked giant buttons toppling. Frances had a tiny wobbly-lipped moment before pulling herself together. At home, our lips wobbled for a while longer.

The salt vs sugar mix up

John Waite went on to win the Bake Off in 2012, but was nearly sent packing at the start of the competition. In the very first episode of Bake Off series three, he came second to last in the technical challenge after putting salt – instead of sugar – in his rum babas. We all felt his pain.

That dropped chocolate cake

Rob Billington made the baker inside all of us shudder when his pristine chocolate cake slid onto the floor at the end of the challenge. The definition of kitchen disaster.

And these spoiled sponges

Is there anything sadder than cake on the carpet?

Glenn's far-too-sticky buns

Devon-based baker Glenn Cosby couldn't help shedding a few tears when his brioche buns failed to come out of their cases. And when we see a grown man crying over unspilled buns on national TV, we can't help crying too...

And the time Brendan didn't win

Don't get us wrong, we love series three winner John Waite. He was a worthy Bake Off champion. But we also loved Brendan. The 63-year-old baker consistently presented perfect retro bakes – and when the results were announced we couldn't help feeling a little (read: a lot) bit sad for him.

The Great British Bake Off is back on Wednesday 5th August at 8pm on BBC1


Paul Hollywood will be at the Radio Times Festival this September.

BBC2 to make Bake Off: The Professionals

How big a Bake Off fan are you?

The Great British Bake Off 2015: meet the bakers


Sponsored content