Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Great British Bake Off: 800 complain to BBC over Iain Watters 'bingate' incident but Ofcom won't melt to pressure and investigate ...

Construction engineer Iain Watters
Construction engineer Iain Watters
The chain of events which ultimately led to the Belfast-born baker Iain Watters walking away from the competition
The chain of events which ultimately led to the Belfast-born baker Iain Watters walking away from the competition
The chain of events which ultimately led to the Belfast-born baker Iain Watters walking away from the competition
The chain of events which ultimately led to the Belfast-born baker Iain Watters walking away from the competition

It was the case of the melted ice cream that not only raised temperatures in the kitchen but across the UK as angry viewers complained to the BBC about the Bake Off controversy.

Fans took to social media in their thousands after Belfast baker Iain Watters became the fourth contestant to leave the show on Wednesday night.

Fellow contestant Diana Beard was accused of sabotaging Watters' dessert and was subsequently slated on social media after she removed Iain's ice cream from the freezer.

The contestants were battling to perfect baked Alaskas in 25 degree heat – but the removal of the ice cream prompted a public outcry that it amounted to dirty tricks and contributed to his exit.

Watters' dramatic departure came when he was dismissed for not presenting a dessert. Shortly before, the 31-year-old stormed out of the tent because his dessert had become a mess.

He threw the dish in the bin and later presented the bin to shocked judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

Thirteen viewers have complained to the communications watchdog Ofcom, with 12 of them concerned at the alleged sabotage of the baked Alaska. On top of that, another 811 people have complained directly to the BBC.

But Ofcom last night ruled out launching an investigation in to the simmering row.

A spokesman said: "Having assessed viewers' complaints received to date, they do not raise issues warranting further investigation under Ofcom's rules."

On social media, the hashtag 'Justice for Iain' was used as anger and outrage, much of it aimed at Beard, grew among baking fans.

One of the judges of the Great British Bake Off, Hollywood, took to Twitter to defend the panel's decision.

He said: "At the end of the day Mary & I need something to judge, it's not about melted ice cream but about what's presented to us... #bingate.

"Ice cream being left out of fridge last night for 40 seconds did not destroy Iain's chances in the bake off, what did was his decision."

Host Sue Perkins also weighed in to the argument, but later withdrew. She wrote: "All getting a little inflamed for my liking. Am off. This is a show about CAKES. Please, let's save the ire for real stuff."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, Watters said he held no grudge towards Beard and added that he did not approve of her being made out to be a villain, calling the comments "very unfair".

When asked on BBC's Newsnight programme if he would be making a comeback, Watters teased viewers saying: "You will have to watch next week."

He added: "The reaction has been crazy – there were a lot of comments on Twitter. It's been really nice support and really built up overnight.

"I was more frustrated, and it was just the heat of the moment. In the last half-hour of the show it got very tense. I've spoken to Diana and she's fine."

The construction engineer also joked that he never wanted to make a baked Alaska again.

Mrs Beard (69), the oldest contestant to take part in the show, quit the contest because of ill health just after the controversial episode was filmed.

Background

Iain Watters was dismissed for not presenting a dessert after he stormed out because his dish had become a mess. As the contestants battled to keep their desserts, Watters asked: "Where's my ice cream?" He found it on a worktop in the heat. The episode earned the hashtag 'Bingate' after Watters presented his bin to the judges.

Justice for Iain petition is signed by hundreds

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph launched a petition in a bid to get an apology from the BBC for the ousted baker from Belfast.

Bearded Iain Watters (31) has caused quite a stir across the UK as angry Great British Bake Off viewers stood together in solidarity and claimed his departure was aided by "sabotage" from rival contestant Diana Beard.

It was the topic on many people's lips as thousands across the country joined the public outcry at the alleged dirty tricks.

And the people of Northern Ireland signed up to our campaign in their droves.

Last night hundreds added their name to the Belfast Telegraph's petition.

Comments of anger and outrage flooded our site in support of ousted Iain.

Most of them referenced the incident surrounding the removal of Watters' ice cream by fellow contestant Beard as they battled the clock to come up with a perfect baked Alaska.

However, the show's judges and hosts took to social media to defend Beard, saying that the dessert had been out of the freezer for 40 seconds at most.

But among the comments left on our petition were: "He was not treated fairly by the judges or programme makers. He deserves an apology."

Another said: "He reacted due to his ice cream being removed from the freezer by Diana. This caused him to lose his cool, but he should have been allowed to stay in due to the circumstances."

A third angry fan added: "It doesn't matter whether his ice cream was out of the freezer for 45 seconds or 45 minutes, Diana should never have touched another person's ice cream. She should have been disqualified."

Meanwhile, members of the public have set up a Facebook page called Justice for Iain, while others have created a separate social media group to have him reinstated to the show.

In response to the controversy, the BBC said Iain was sent home because he "didn't present Mary and Paul with anything to judge in the showstopper challenge, and both judges were clear about the reasoning behind the decision.

"Diana removing Iain's ice cream from the freezer for less than a minute was in no way responsible for Iain's departure."

#JusticeforIain: Sign our petition here

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