Winner Candice Brown hails 'amazing' Bake Off as programme's BBC era ends
The Great British Bake Off 2016 winner Candice Brown paid tribute to the "amazing" programme at a book signing event hours after baking her way to victory in the show's most watched episode ever.
She joined finalists Andrew Smyth and Jane Beedle at a Waterstone's book store in central London on Thursday, after being crowned champion during the show's finale, broadcast on BBC1 on Wednesday.
The PE teacher, 31, sported a new deep red hairstyle, complimented by her signature lipstick and a gleaming ring on her engagement ring finger.
Commenting on the finale show, which was watched by a record audience, she told reporters: "Every series is amazing... but that was a really good episode."
An average of 14 million TV fans tuned in to watch the climax of the programme's last season on the BBC, compared with the average of 13.4 million who watched Nadiya Hussain take the crown last year.
Mother-of-two Beedle also revealed a fresh, darker hair colour at the signing event and urged viewers to keep watching the show when it moves to Channel 4 next year, without hosts Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.
She said: "Everybody should give it a go. The lovely thing about Bake Off is it is the sort of show you can watch with your little kids, and your big kids.
"Whoever the presenter is, Bake Off is still the sort of thing you want to have on in your sitting room."
But fans queuing with brand new copies of the £20 recipe book accompanying the programme's seventh series were more sceptical about the show's future without the original team.
A group of seven - all sporting colourful lipstick inspired by Brown - said they would watch the first episode of the show when it moved to Channel 4, but predicted it would see a "massive drop" in popularity.
"It depends on the other people they get to present it," they said. "It will be a different viewing experience, but it won't be Bake Off."
Asked what they would like to see the series' contestants do next, Emma Coffey said: "We want to see (contenders) Selasi and Val on a road trip. Or basically anything with Selasi. We are hoping that if we just think of him enough he will appear."
Zoe Adams added: "Bake Off has brought joy to a pretty rocky year. It's good clean fun.
"It's a nice change to see a competition with supportive judges where the contestants are kind to each other and people watching can be inspired and have a go themselves. Everybody can make a cake."
Brown echoed the warm feelings between the team in a interview on ITV's Loose Women on Thursday morning.
Speaking especially about Beedle, who she is planning on travelling to France with, she said: "We got on brilliantly. They used to have to tell us 'remember this is a competition'.
"We got on so well and I just love Jane and I couldn't have shared that moment (in the final) with two better bakers. I mean they were all amazing, but those two..."
After the winner was announced at a celebration attended by the family and friends of the three finalists, as well as the other nine bakers knocked out in previous rounds, Brown admitted : " When they said my name, that means more to me than anyone will ever realise.
She added: " I love baking and this has increased my love of baking. If I can get my little vintage shop selling tea and cakes with random antiques that would be my ultimate dream.
"Let's wait and see what will come my way but I will be grabbing it with both hands and running with it, that's for sure. It would be crazy not to, wouldn't it?"