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The Great British Bake Off 2014 Final, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

The Great British Bake Off 2014 Final, BBC One

The Great British Bake Off 2014 Final, BBC One

More tasty treats from the nicest contestants on television (this review contains spoilers)

Showstoppers: master bakers Luis Troyano (left), Nancy Birtwhistle and Richard Burr

It feels as though 2014 was the year in which the Twitter generation finally woke up and realised what it had done. For five years a quiet, unassuming baking competition had risen through the ranks to become the most polite BBC One ratings juggernaut in the corporation’s history. Frankly, the world was ready for a bearded ginger Irishman to throw his baked Alaska in the bin and storm off into the great British countryside.

In the end (and let’s not pretend that there won’t be spoilers from the off), it was slow and steady that won the race. Retiree Nancy Birtwhistle’s creations rarely brought the same weekly accolades as Luis Troyano’s spectacular design feats or Richard Burr’s record-breaking run of star bakes, but her Moulin Rouge-inspired centrepiece looked as good as (we were told) it tasted, while her perfectionism got her through a tricky technical challenge.

It was slow and steady that won the raceBefore we got that far, however, there were the usual three challenges to get out of the way: signature, technical and showstopper. Having set approaching 150 of the things, you couldn’t blame judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (below right, with Birtwhistle) for running out of ideas - which goes some way towards explaining why this year they’ve increasingly sounded like words chosen at random from European translation dictionaries. I wouldn’t have expected anybody to have a signature viennoiserie recipe, until it emerged that they were actually talking about breakfast pastries. Graphic designer Luis, who appeared to have confused the brief with “pasties”, was having none of that nonsense, although his “pain au white chocolate” did not impress the judges.

Mary Berry, Nancy Birtwhistle and Paul Hollywood in The Great British Bake OffSimplicity was the watchword for the trio’s final technical challenge: instead of forcing them to mix up some little-known delicacy on the barest of instructions, the idea was instead to produce 12 miniature Victoria sponges, 12 tartes au citron and 12 scones. In two hours. It was here that Nancy’s meticulous attention to detail came to the fore, while record-breaking star baker Richard came undone over an eggy lemon tart iced with what looked like the word “colon” (unfortunate when it’s done in chocolate).

The final showstopper could have been a battle of the windmills were it not for Richard’s looking like the poor relation when compared to Nancy’s stunning work - it was at this point that those of us who had been rooting for the builder with the pencil permanently behind his ear who had become the competition’s unlikely favourite knew that the jig was up. A tribute to his home in the mining town of Poynton done in sponge, sugar work, gingerbread and macaroon by the creative Luis looked, well, good enough to eat - but wasn’t quite enough to win the day.

Of course the best bit about the final of these things is the chance it gives old favourites to return to the screen: Hashtag Bingate battlers Ian and Diana, never to be seen on screen together; flavour queen Chetna; and of course the pragmatic Norman from the north-east of Scotland for whom pesto and lavender-flavoured meringues were the height of cosmopolitan. With no obvious prizes at stake it’s always been the niceness and the quirks of the Bake Off candidates that has won the viewers over - but hey, if you don’t like it, there’s always The Apprentice back next week.

The world was ready for a bearded ginger Irishman to throw his baked Alaska in the bin


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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