“It’s a very, very difficult position he’s put us in,” Paul said after Iain threw his baked alaska in the bin. Paul didn’t know the half of it.
Like adding salt instead of sugar in a victoria sponge, last night’s online backlash against the decision to send Iain home has left a bitter taste in the mouth – and makes you wonder whether it’s worth trying again.
As of this morning, almost 8,000 people have voted in Radio Times’s poll which asked whether Paul and Mary were right to send Iain home. Over 90% said they were wrong.
The narrative proved a virulent one on Twitter too: beardy, stereotype-defying, hipster Iain had been wronged by 70-year-old, desperate-to-win Diana.
According to Panasonic, tweeting peaked at 8.57pm last night with 3,498 tweets per minute – the moment Iain was sent home.
But it wasn’t just the amount of tweets that was different, but the hashtags that accompanied them. #DirtyDiana, #SwanBitch and #sabotage all filled our timelines, particularly when it appeared that Diana hadn’t admitted her part in the scandal.
Goggleboxer Reverend Kate Bottley said, “I know it wasn’t his freezer but a simple ‘Oi Beard boy shift yer Alaska’ would have done it #dirtydiana #JusticeForIain #GBBO”
— Kate Bottley (@revkatebottley) August 27, 2014
Facebook was just as outraged, with responses drawing attention to the lack of remorse on Diana’s part. David Clark said, “It’s not so much the fact that Iain went, as that Diana showed no remorse whatsoever for her actions which pretty much ensured that Iain would fail the challenge. If she did show any remorse, and say sorry to Iain, then we should have been allowed to see it on the show. Very hard lines, Iain.”
But then the question came: was all as it seemed? Former Bake Off contestant Ali queried whether the scandal had more to do with dramatic editing than any wrongdoing on Diana’s part.
What a silly hashtag #DirtyDiana is. Let's not make a villain out of a contestant like this is X Factor. A lot happens in editing room.
— Ali Imdad (@AliImdadBakes) August 27, 2014
17-year-old baker Martha, Paul Hollywood and Sue Perkins all tried to calm the situation, but the backlash was in full swing.
Iain's Alaska was out of the freezer for 40 secs. That's it. No sabotage. 40 secs of normal temp would NOT be enough to reduce it to liquid
— Sue Perkins (@sueperkins) August 27, 2014
I'm glad Mary's not on twitter this would upset her.. #enoughnow
— Paul Hollywood (@PaulHollywood) August 27, 2014
Things are NOT always what they seem on TV, Diana is an absolute legend, and the lack of freezer space was none of the bakers fault #chaos
— Martha Collison (@marthacollison) August 27, 2014
Comments on our Facebook page also questioned whether producers had shown us the whole story. Samantha Andrews said: “I don’t know where the truth lies because the editing might not show what really happened. We as the viewers ought to know who was to blame, and whether an apology was given (if it was merited). Are we being manipulated for publicity purposes?”
We’ve been here before of course with Ruby Tandoh. Ruby herself messaged her support as the comments reached venom of Big Brother proportions.
let's just agree that apart from (probs) a few over-zealous hockey tackles at school, Diana's likely never done a nasty thing in her life.
— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) August 27, 2014
The last, rational word goes to Facebook poster Julie Taylor: “I don’t know what is sadder – the loss of innocence in the GBBO tent or the nasty comments that people are making,” she said. “I’ve always loved GBBO for its supportive atmosphere. Not sure if it can recover.” We hear you Julie.