Great British Bake Off 6 – Final

Technical Bakes, Who Needs Them?

1. Welcome to a recap of the calumny and scandal against decency that was the final of the GREAT BRITISH PC BAKE OFF. That’s right, over the course of three rounds the contestants were asked to make nothing but Pretty Cakes, neglecting those of us with a savoury tooth who were already mourning the loss of Pie Week. Is there no room in the world of Great Britain any more for tuna paste? Have we come so far? Oh and also The Daily Mail and The Sun threw a collective wobbly that all their pre-series predictions about how the SMILING MUSLIM and the ASIAN DOCTOR and the FILIPINO NURSE and the LITHUANIAN BODYBUILDER had only been cast to make the box-checking numbers up, and that the truly talented people would turn out to be all the middle aged white women, proved…wrong, as two of the TOKENS made the final, meaning it must have been a GIANT FIX the whole time. (You’d think Amanda Platell would be a little bit kinder to people are don’t fit the antiquated notion of the stereotypically British given that she is a) an immigrant and b) at least 60% shark DNA). Of course this is all nothing new from The Daily Mail, but it is amusing that the final of Series 4 had a similarly diverse composition (black woman, mixed-race lesbian, white woman) and the papers mostly ignored it in favour of insinuating one of them was a slag. There’s always a heirarchy isn’t there?

2. We began our final with a profiling of our three finalists, just so we’d know what their storylines were going into the home straight, in case we’d forgotten them in the overwhelming blizzard white-out of “FLORA OVER-COMPLICATES THINGS” over the last two weeks. Tamal was listed as the one who has been consistantly succesful over the entire series, but has had problems with his timings, Nadiya the one who initially struggled with technical bakes and then didn’t, and Ian as the one who likes building things out of things and trying wacky flavour combinations like APPLE AND TARRAGON (!!!) Our contenders were also given a brief moment to talk about their headspace in the run up to the big reveal, with Tamal saying that he was so tempted to go up to random strangers in the street and tell them he was in the final of Bake Off (so *that’s* where all the leaks this series came from), Ian saying that he’d been scribbling furiously in his journal (presumably bound in actual badgerskin) and Nadiya just saying “I WANT TO WIN! WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN! WIN!” over and over again. It takes that competitive edge I guess.

3. The first challenge of the final? Not to reflexively punch Sue out as she bellowed

“BAERURURRKKKKKKKKKK!” in that stupid voice like she’s just stubbed her toe on one of the Smeg fridges, for the 28th time this series. After that, the comparatively easier task of producing two different lots of 12 iced buns. Which you’d think would be simple enough given that iced buns operate on a similar level of the dessert heirarchy as chocolate mousse and the Rice Krispie cake but no, of course Paul Hollywood can even get evangelical about the sort of thing you’d find flogged in Greggs for 30p, talking about how the iced bun is a THING OF BEAUTY WHICH LEAVES NO PLACE TO HIDE and advising the contestants to “Keep Calm and follow in your head the stages that you need to achieve to produce perfection”. Which is both a bit much and also not going to be fitting on any novelty mugs any time soon. Unless they’re the ones Mary Berry uses to swig her gin from. All three bakers decided to push themselves and break the mould in order to express themselves in this final “Sig Chal” as Mel (and only Mel, ever) described it – Nadiya by making one set of buns round and the other oblong, Ian by making two different types of flavoured dough, one with spices and one with elderflower cordial (is there anything more Ian in the world than elderflower cordial, refreshing you on a hot summer’s day as you work on the perfect bbq marinade rub for the hedgehog you just scraped off the A473?), and Tamal by being REALLY REALLY BORING and not flavouring either his buns or his icing, hoping that his filling would carry the day by itself. Spoilers : it didn’t, especially as his creme patissiere didn’t set, leaving one half of his iced buns to function as marmalade sandwiches with what looked like toothpaste on top. This of course led to further questions about his timings and generally left him feeling a bit out of the running already. Poor Tamal. If only I’d been there, I would have happily iced his buns. Ian meanwhile was not let down by his beloved and emblematic elderflower, but by his spiced buns. Because he forgot to put any sugar in them (…), rendering them, per Paul, “crispy baps”. This left Nadiya to swoop in and take the round with her perfect round cardamom and almond buns, and her even perfecter sour cherry and nutmeg fingers. I mean…

look at them. It was obvious from the start which way this was all going right?

4. Most fascinating of all in this round though was the dynamic it revealed amongst the bakers. By which I mean Tamal and Nadiya spent the entire challenge (/episode) gossiping and whispering and teasing one another in the corner about Technical Bake disasters past, calling one another names like “old friend” and “chum” and generally pitching for their own 7:30pm BBC 2 matey baking show, whilst Ian was left alone to plough his own furrow. I swear, I think Sue was the only person even to acknowledge Ian’s existence outside of judging, as she periodically tried to get him to rough up his soft charming fluffy exterior (even going so far as to call him out as being “feminine” which was…an interesting moment) and admit that he wanted to win or at least do something other than chatter endlessly about the nice things he saw on his nature walk the other day. Poor guy. I hope his real life is different from his Bake Off life, and doesn’t consist entirely of people taking agin’ him for no reason. And at least he got spared the indignity that was given to Paul this week, who was told by Sue to go and bungee jump without a safety harness and die. Sometimes BANTAH goes too far, even on this show.

5. Our final Technical Bake was never going to quite live up to the merry-go-round of madness that was last week’s session, but 6 millefuellielees (sp?) was a suitable way to go out especially as, as Paul pointed out, neither pastry nor Technical Bakes in general have been the speciality of any of these three (Tamal in particular has very quietly been putting together the worst record in Technical Bakes of any finalist in this show’s history) so it’s not as though they could have pulled last year’s trick of just giving them the names of three things and telling them to get on with it. (Nadiya incidentally IMMEDIATELY sniffed this out and giggled to Tamal that the judges were obviously trying to test them, which…is kind of the idea of the whole show Nad, but I take your point). The story of this round really was Tamal and Nadiya continuing their roles as constantly joshing siblings, both trying to outperform the other as to how badly they were doing (“WHAT’S A CANDY STRIPE?” “WHAT IS THIS SUGAR SYRUP FOR?” “YOUR PASTRY LOOKS AMAZING, MINE’S AWFUL!” “I’M LOSING CONTROL!” “I CAN’T EVEN DO KEY STAGE 1 MATHS!” “THIS IS A DISASTER!” “THE DECISIONS I MAKE HERE I HAVE TO LIVE WITH FOR THE REST! OF! MY! LIFE!”) which might leave you believe that Ian was cruising silently and confidently to victory but…oops, Nadiya won this round as well, because Ian’s piping was poor and his pastry wasn’t quite cooked. Still, Tamal’s hammy paroxysms of woe were accurate, as the judges told him that the pastry for his milliefflieuls (sp?) was a disaster and they looked like they’d been sat on. So at this point, especially if you took into account Mary continuing in her role of delightfully doddering spoiler-auntie by giving a pre-show interview wherein she said that all three showstoppers were amazing, you could pretty much call this series definitively for Nadiya. But let’s carry on anyway, because the Showstopper Round is always the most fun, right? And we could always hope that Tamal made it out of the final with at least one thing he could be proud of. (Incidentally, her victory here puts Nadiya second on the list for the record of most Technical Bakes victories after Argyle James from Series 3, even though she sucked the bag in pretty much every one she didn’t win. So mercurial, so Nadiya)

6. Unfortunately for Tamal, God himself intervened to try to ruin his Showstopper chances, by opening the heavens and upping the humidity just as he began the sugarwork required to produce his final masterpiece – a multilayered sticky toffee fruit cake based around an abandoned Chinese fishing village he saw on the news. This was supposedly to meet the brief of an “iconic British cake, with at least three tiers”. Contestants ambitions were curbed though, with the proviso that every tier had to have the same basic flavour, presumably in memory of James’ doomed attempts to make a different cake for every composite nation of the British Isles, or the absolute horror show of the Series 4 finale. In truth, Tamal’s cake ended up looking more like the lair of a Spider Boss from a Super Mario Galaxy game

but you can’t fault him for ambition, and apparently it tasted nicer than it looked, in that it didn’t taste like it had been just hooked out from underneath your sofa. For comparison, this is the abandoned Chinese Fishing Village.

I guess it’s an inspiration, rather than an exact copy right? Ian meanwhile took inspiration from his own colossal curly carrot apparently to produce this :

supposedly the greatest collection of carrot cakes in one place that Paul Hollywood has seen ever. And you have to believe that Paul Hollywood has eaten a lot of carrot cakes in his time. Now, you might think that cake looks amateurish and a little “kids birthday party”, but as with any carrot cake it pays to look at the raw (and I mean raw) materials it was made out of

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Who cares if the green icing was a little lurid, anyone who can make anything halfway edible out of that diarrhoea coleslaw deserves our undying respect. Yet again it was Nadiya who identified the point of the round – not Chinese fishing villages, not carrots, but shameless reality tv pandering, as she made white lemon drizzle cake adorned with red flowers and blue sarees (RED WHITE AND BLUE AND AT THE SAME TIME A COMMENT ON HER EXTERNAL HERITAGE ISN’T IT?) with an adorable back story – it was the cake that she would have had at her wedding if she’d had a cake at her wedding which oops she didn’t because she got married in Bangladesh, where they don’t have cakes.

Simple, but effective, precision strike pandering.

7. As it was the final, we got to visit with the remaining contestants families before they all turned up for the big series ending “tea party” which at one point was an actual thing where the attendees got to eat everything the finalists had made in this last episode, but which now serves mostly to have cute kids around to react to things. At any rate, we met

Tamal’s bossy older sister, who took all the credit for him entering the world of baking, and also told us that she thinks her younger brother is “good-looking, funny, and intelligent” very much like she was writing his online dating profile for him. Sorry Tamal’s sister, I think Grindr asks for more detail than that, do carry on…

Ian’s kids, who shaded Ian impecably by saying that they thought daddy had done very well to make the final (we also met Ian’s wife, and whilst she wasn’t the glamourpuss Vampirella-In-Wellies of my dreams, she did basically say that she only let Ian out of the shed to do the show so she could get her mug on camera at the end, and frankly if she’d known what a shitshow he’d make of her kitchen over the intervening months she wouldn’t have bothered, which kind of makes her my fave)

and Nadiya’s husband, who apparently was doing a lot for twitter, if not for me, so here’s a picture of him anyway. Also we met Nadiya’s kids, particularly her daughter.

PARTICULARLY her daughter (<3)

8. As well as friends and family, the final crowning was also attended by the departed contestants of episodes past, who were of course grilled as to who they wanted to see win. Paul wanted Nadiya to emerge triumphant, Marie thought it would be Ian because he’s

“…very different”, Mat chose Nadiya also, and Stuart said that he’d “like to see Tamal do it”. First and last time I’ve ever agreed with Stuart there. Ugne meanwhile expressed a preference for HA HA HA HA IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME I SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE TENT HA HA HA BUT THAT’S LIFE ISN’T IT OH WELL HA HA HA. (Hooray for Ugne). In other news, Flora

continues to dress like a harassed middle-aged mother of three enjoying a brief Premier Cru break, and Sandy still will not shut up about how RANDOM she is. If she’d been in the final she would have been, like, tap-dancing and singing and stuff. RANDOM. (We sadly didn’t hear from Dorret. I hope she’s doing ok)

9. Our winner?

The obvious. Having now watched all six finales of the Great British Bake Off, this was the most comprehensive final hour stomping of all time, as Nadiya put out three professional looking and (per Paul and Mary) great tasting final bakes and her rivals…didn’t. I mean the worst you could say is that her Showstopper was a little unambitious. Her winning was augmented by three teary speeches – firstly from Tamal, who teared up with pride for her and then sighed that she’s going to insufferable from now on (seriously when did these two become best friends and life partners forever, I love it), secondly from Mary (good grief) who talked about how much she enjoyed watching Nadiya channel her nerves and her passion for baking together to form the competitive edge she needed to win rand finally from Nadiya herself

tearing up, about how she’s never going to second-guess herself or her choices ever again. I mean…even the ones involving bubblegum flavouring? OK. To close out Nadiya’s time as probably the most beloved Bake Off winner of them all (who was more popular at the time of their victory? Joanne maybe?) here are some more of those patented Nadiya Faces.

Thanks for being such a reliable source of filler-blog-content Nadiya Hussain, I salute you.

10. And finally, as ever, where they are now :


27 thoughts on “Great British Bake Off 6 – Final

  1. Kelly

    I genuinely just spent a minute trying to remember the series 3 contestant called Argyle. It’s been a long week.

    I’m delighted that Nadiya has passed on the facial expression gene to her daughter.

  2. Huriye

    Thanks for the great blogs throughout this series, and the Fantastic pics and captions. πŸ˜€

    I’m confused though, wasn’t Jo the Mum with big sons who couldn’t pronounce Millefeuille?
    Yes, she was alright, but no-one beats Nadiya for popularity! ❀

    Without doubt, the best series evah! The most interesting group of Finalists. I was not an Ian hater, and liked him bringing in ingredients from his garden and that he'd foraged.
    Tamal and Nadiya have got to be the 2 most endearing, funny, intelligent, likeable and watchable contestants evah. They made this series, with their different personalities and cultures, and not only that, they were both beautiful people too – to look at and inside – and you wanted to be their best friends and be invited round to that get together Tamal talked about.

    I got over Nadiya's headscarves, I noticed it in week one, then it just became part of who she was – a beautiful, funny, above all very intelligent young woman, as well as an extremely talented Baker and deserved winner. Boy! She crushed them in the Final! Tamal fell apart till the Showstopper and Ian had a meltdown. For me Nadiya's wedding cake was classical, which a Showstopper can be just as much as Tamal's spooky amazing creation. But most of all I wanted to taste all of them, which hasn't always been the case this series, with lurid blue seemingly the most popular colour!

    I'm not surprised the Final was the most watched and popular show of the year, with a wide range of viewership. Who thought that moving to BBC1 and getting a sister show would make GBBO more watchable not less? Mary's tears were genuine, and as she just said on Extra Slice, "Nadiya baked for her family" and family always sets Mary off, remember Piers Morgan asking about her hubby?

    I've already tweeted Drummer TV who make kids/young people's programmes to do a Nadiya teaches kids to bake series for CBBC. If it gets commissioned, I'll only take 5% πŸ˜‰

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think Jo was the last time *the* fan favourite of the finalists won the series, although I watched it retrospectively and only heard vague noises on mah reality tv telegraph about who was beloved. James was definitely the one in Series 3, Kimberley in series 4 (although they all had a lot of hatahs) and probably Richard in Series 5. Obv she’s not as popular as Queen Nadiya, cos the show had less than half as many viewers.

  3. Andrea

    Is that Paul or Paul with the skateboard? Cause with Paul I’d chill so hard.

    I thought the choices for what they had to bake for most of the series were pretty boring to be honest. Yes, making puff pastry from scratch is hard, absolutely, but it’s hardly that exciting or something new. And the show stopper? Make at least 3 cakes, all the same. How thrilling.

    None the less, I was happy to see Nadiya win, for her eyebrows on fleek and their gerneral expressiveness as much as her great baking.

  4. catherinehirst

    Thank you for your coverage over the whole series this year. I’ve watched every series of the show and this one was my 2nd favourite, after the James/John year. But Nadiya is my favourite-ever winner, and probably favourite-ever contestant (still love Howard Who Works For The Council). She bloody well deserved her win, and I cried buckets at the end. I’ll miss Bakeoff til it comes round again.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Why they don’t have a Christmas Special I’ll never know. Christmas is PRIME Baking time. I’m not saying it has to be an All Stars a la Strictly or anything, although the thought of, say, Brendan, Ruby, Ruth, Nancy, Richard and Tamal all in the same place at the same time does give me a frisson.

      1. Huriye

        I know Ruby slagged off Paul when she came out on Twitter, but she insulted Queen Mary?! Outrageous! What the dickens did she say?

      2. Kelly

        I think the Wkikpedia entry suggests they’re going to do a GBBO: The Professionals. (I definitely read it somewhere this week). I’d much prefer a Christmas special!

  5. missfrankiecat

    Given that a quick google of the great betting scandal meant many of us knew from day 1 of this series who was going to win, I thought Nadya’s ‘story’ was exceptionally well handled and the final the most satisfying of any. If the cast really was chosen more for diversity than baking ability, that decision was vindicated with a selection of delightful characters who were all a pleasure to watch. But then, I even like Paul Hollywood.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I managed to be completely unspoiled, mercifully (and obviously) apart from one numpty on Digital Spy who said something like “it’s someone who was middle of the pack Week 1” which really could have meant most of them if you enter a state of denial. I did notice a lot of people were very confident that Nadiya made endgame mid-series given her early results, but I put that down to her large edit.

  6. Jan

    OH, THAT Chinese fishing village. I saw that story at the time, too, I just didn’t recognise it from the cake.

    This was a great final, particulary compared to some previous ones – that feeling being cemented by your reminder of James’ “No” cake of series 3 and the all-out horror of the entirety of series 4’s (apart from the bit where the slightly bemused Frances won).

    Thank you for all the recapping; as ever your posts have been a joy to read.

  7. Sue Howarth

    Signature. Apple and cardomon mixed through creme pat with sea buckthorn jam and seabuckthorn icing. The a tribute to dounuts so strawberry jam and cream, probably round and squashy
    No show stopper-only 4 hors, absurd, you cannot really go for it in that time- Rich dark chocolate cake, with damson jelly and a white chocolate ganache. Three tiers on a bright pink stand with a checkerboard and mirror squares. Each cake to be decorated differently. One as Pearl then Yara Shopia and then Laganja Estranga. the looks are easy but the Disinterested pout/Accent?Death drop are proving a challenge in cake so far, don’t worry I will get there

  8. Agrippina

    Millefeuille? A red wiggly line has appeared under it as I was typing, though, so perhaps not.

    Ian’s house and family looked exactly like the sort of setup that gets its own two page feature in the Saturday Guardian Family section, usually with a headline like “Home-schooling and organic cookery are what bond us as a family”. I bet his kids have surnames for first names.

    Anyway, huzzah for Nadiya, I hope she gets her own TV show where she talks the viewer through the process of boiling down fizzy drinks into syrups, while making wisecracks about how fiddly and rubbish Mary Berry’s recipes are.

  9. ramblesat50

    I hope they don’t do any spin off at christmas or professional ect. The product is great as it is with the “extra slice” program adding to it.
    Also thanks for the commentary this year seal monk. This is the only reality program I watch and I love reading your comments.

  10. PerfectCustard

    Sorry to be so late to this thread, but I want to add my thanks for such great recaps through this season. I love the fact that you get all the details correct about the previous seasons.
    I loved Joanne from season 2 as a winner, that was the season that really got the ratings going upward. Season 3 is still my favourite for comedy, Sarah, Cathryn, Scottish James, and John were very good with the banter. I love your idea of a Christmas show, make it happen.
    Nadiya was a just and graceful winner, and being good at technical bakes really does matter.

  11. Seronie

    Good series, good blog!

    Nadiya was my fave this year, though Tamal was my pick until his abject final. Better than last years bunch, easily.

    Will never understand the BPs need to vilify a contestant. Be it Ian, for being a bit middle class; Baked Alaska Lady, or Ruby ❀ whose crime was, I dunno, apologising for crap bakes that were actually good (or rather, pissing off Jellus Girlz on Twitter). I'll know Britains made it when we can bring ourselves to love all the sods AND even Paul Hollywood


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