On Wednesday 7th October 2015 at 8pm (GMT time) a record number of 14.5 million viewers sank into their sofas and turned on the telly to watch one particular show. Even Prime Minister David Cameron and main man George Osbourne took an hour off to tune in. It wasn’t, as you might’ve guessed, to watch the USA be obliterated by South Africa in the Rugby World Cup (I won’t mention the score), nor was it to watch the intriguing and slightly unsettling The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door – though maybe we’ll watch that one on catch-up. The only show to grace our screens that night was the series six grand final of the nation’s favourite BAFTA award-winning, mouth-watering, tear-jerkingly joyful show The Great British Bake Off. Obviously. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
In week one, there were twelve contestants gathered in a large kitchen under a large tent in the largest garden you have ever seen. They love baking more than you love Tinder. They don’t swipe right all that much though. Mostly they swipe forward, with a rolling pin, on a slab of dough. They talk to each other in worried, sweet voices about how well their walnut layer cake is rising, whilst the show’s judges, cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood question the contestants about their recipes. Usually the show’s legendary presenters, Mel Giedroye and Sue Perkins, lurk behind them, joining in the conversation by dropping as many sexual baking innuendos as they possibly can… in exceedingly British taste of course. The poor participants are subjected to rounds and rounds of demanding bakes, from soda bread to crème brûlée, Victorian tennis cake to vol-au-vents, with contestants being eliminated until there are just three sweaty, but genius bakers left in the final.
The lucky three surviving finalists of 2015 were ambitious Ian Cumming, charming and funny Tamal Ray and Queen-of-the-facial-expressions, Nadiya Hussain (follow ‘the Many Faces of Nadiya Appreciation’ blog on Tumblr). After ten weeks, their last request was to make a classic British cake with at least three tiers. With both boys having fallen short in the previous technical pastry bake, Ian’s giant carrot cake and Tamal’s sticky toffee fruitcake inspired by an abandoned Chinese village (top points for artsy-ness) definitely did bring the boys back to town. Unfortunately for them, Nadiya was the undisputed mayor.
Luton-born and Bangladesh-married, Nadiya tied the knot with her husband without a wedding cake and baked a beauty of a lemon drizzle, covered in red, white and blue sari material with jewels from her wedding day to celebrate her Asian and British roots. Mary Berry gushed that the cake was ‘simply stunning’ and began to shed tears, making the large mass of people weeping happy tears in their living rooms even larger when Nadiya was crowned the series favourite ever winner. After her victory, Nadiya vowed, “I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never going to say ‘I can’t do it’, I’m never going to say ‘maybe’, I’m never going to say ‘I don’t think I can’. I can, and I will.” We are officially proud, lifelong members of #TeamNadiya.
There is no more appropriate way to celebrate the end of another great series than with a classic Bake Off innuendo. This one, shown on Wednesday’s final, is fantastic.
“I’m doing one shape fingers and the other one round,” Nadiya says, when Paul asks her how she is designing her iced buns.
Paul makes a face and Mary gives him an icy stare. “Why shouldn’t a bun be round?” she demands.
“My buns are always round,” asserts Presenter Mel.
Mary smiles. “Exactly.”
We can’t wait for Series 7.