Belfast Telegraph

Great British Bake Off Dessert Week: Tom Gilliford's 'hipster picnic' puts him out of the tent

Tom Gilliford has come to the end of his journey in The Great British Bake Off tent.

The 26-year-old was eliminated after his three dessert week creations left judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood unimpressed as the competition gets tough ahead of the quarter-finals.

He said: "The curse of the Star Baker well and truly struck for me after winning (it) for the second time in last week's episode.

"But I was so pleased just to get onto the show in the first place, and my wife said I wouldn't get to episode two! My whole aim was to get through to bread week, and as I watch it back now, I still wonder how I got this far."

The keen baker, who works for the Royal Society of Arts in London, said he could not believe he made it as far as he did after feeling inadequate in the first week.

He said: "I feel there are two halfway marks on the show; in episode five you feel you are halfway through the series, and then the second halfway mark is when you realise you are one of the last six bakers left in the tent, and that's a totally different experience.

"I felt in episode one that everyone was better than me, so I couldn't believe it when I got to the final six, but by that time, I felt that I earned my place."

Hollywood said that Gilliford should "feel very proud of himself" for making it as far as he did.

Gilliford's winning streak started to unravel in the signature challenge as the bakers were tasked with creating a family-sized roulade, a sponge with added cream and filling and rolled into a spiral.

His take on a millionaire's shortbread as a roulade was criticised by the judges for being covered in a heavy layer of chocolate.

Berry critiqued: "The thing about a roulade is to get the spiral but you've masked it."

The technical challenge saw the six remaining bakers tackle a marjolaine gateau - a delicate and elegant French dessert comprised of layers of meringue, filled with praline, buttercream and ganache and covered in nuts.

Gilliford confessed to having never made a praline before, and his effort came second-to-last in the blind tasting.

His showstopper was the final straw as his "hipster picnic" carrot and apple mini-mousse cakes did not live up to the judges' exacting standards.

Gilliford said his time in the Bake Off tent was a "very special experience" and that he loved the technical challenges, against the odds.

He said: "Even when you are having a down moment in the tent, it's a unique 'going wrong' moment. It is a very special experience."

Andrew Smyth, 25, was named Star Baker after coming top in the technical challenge and producing 24 childhood ice-cream flavoured mini-mousse cakes in the showstopper.

Saunders denies reports she and Dawn are 'lined up' to host show

Jennifer Saunders has rubbished reports that she and Dawn French are "lined up" to host the Great British Bake Off.

The Absolutely Fabulous actress said it was "complete bollocks".

Her clarification follows weekend reports suggesting the duo would take over from Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.

She tweeted: "Its complete bollocks that Dawn and I are 'lined up' to take over Great British Bake off."

The duo were a popular combination as the comedy duo French and Saunders, on television and stage.

Bake Off's current presenting pair, Giedroyc, 48, and Perkins, 47, announced their intention to stay at the BBC when the show moves across to Channel 4 next year.

Judge Mary Berry followed them a few days later, stating she would be remaining at the corporation and saying ''farewell to soggy bottoms''.

Her fellow judge Paul Hollywood is the only member of the original line-up moving to Channel 4.

Celebrity chef Delia Smith is believed to be in the running, according to The Sun.

Fans on social media urged Saunders to reconsider, with one tweeting: "Well that's just a Great British disappointment! Please will you reconsider...?!"

Another wrote: "You two should be lined up to take over the UK. I'd vote!"

Saunders took part in a celebrity edition of the popular baking show in aid of Comic Relief in 2015.

Bake Off dominates most-watched top five

The Great British Bake Off has made a clean sweep of the top five most-watched programmes of the year so far.

An average of almost 13-and-a-half million people have tuned in to each episode of the hit BBC One cookery competition, new figures reveal.

It is the largest number of viewers the show has ever attracted in its seven-year history.

Should Bake Off continue to pull in such an audience, it is likely all 10 episodes of this year's series will end up in the top 10 most-watched programmes of 2016.

The ratings, which have been published by the research body Barb, include people who recorded the show then watched it up to seven days after transmission.

They cover only the first five episodes, and do not include the sixth instalment which aired on September 28.

The one programme that has come close to equalling Bake Off's ratings this year is Britain's Got Talent, an episode of which had almost 12.5 million viewers in April.

Last year's Bake Off final was watched by 15.1 million people - a figure that could well be exceeded this year.

Such a feat would set the bar extremely high for Bake Off's next series, which is due to air on Channel 4 after the BBC refused to pay a reported £25 million a year to keep the broadcasting rights.

Here are the 10 most-watched programmes of 2016 so far:

1. The Great British Bake Off (BBC One), August 24: 13.58 million

2. The Great British Bake Off (BBC One), August 31: 13.45 million

3. The Great British Bake Off (BBC One), September 14: 13.29 million

4. The Great British Bake Off (BBC One), September 21: 13.12 million

5. The Great British Bake Off (BBC One), September 7: 13.08 million

6. Britain's Got Talent (ITV), April 16: 12.46 million

7. Britain's Got Talent (ITV), April 23: 12.32 million

8. Euro 2016: Portugal v France (BBC One), July 10: 12.27 million

9. Euro 2016: Wales v Belgium analysis (BBC One), July 1: 11.89 million

10. Britain's Got Talent (ITV) April 30: 11.87 million

The Great British Bake Off airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on BBC1, followed by An Extra Slice on Fridays at 9.30pm on BBC2


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