Thursday 22 March 2018

Record 10 million tune in for Great British Bake Off opener

Stuart Henshall's Black Forest Gateau gaffe saw him become the first casualty of the Bake Off tent
Stuart Henshall's Black Forest Gateau gaffe saw him become the first casualty of the Bake Off tent

The first episode of the new series of The Great British Bake Off was the most watched opener in the show's history.

Some 9.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the premiere of the sixth series of BBC1's cooking programme, rising to 10 million at the show's peak, according to figures obtained by Radio Times.

The all-time high of 12.3 million people watched the 2014 finale, where Nancy Birtwhistle was crowned the winner.

The first instalment of the sixth series saw professional musician and hipster Stu Henshall eliminated, after failing to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with his experimental take on a Black Forest Gateau, which he made using beetroot, and his Madeira cake with a thick caramel glaze which stuck Hollywood's teeth together.

He said: "In the future I will make Black Forest gateau my way, in the show I covered it in Italian meringue and I put beetroot in it.

"Maybe I should have made it in more a traditional way for Mary. She is awesome and I have followed her recipes for years and Paul's but hey, I'm not that traditional myself."

Henshall added: "My worst moment was definitely being the first to go out, after the excitement of getting there. Somebody has to go first and overall it has been a great experience, without a doubt.

"I felt disappointed in myself initially after leaving in the first episode, as I felt I didn't perform as well as I could. I just hope I don't disappoint people in my life, but it's onwards and upwards."

Marie, a 66-year-old Scot who has lived in Paris, was crowned the first star baker of the series, with Hollywood declaring her Madeira cake "perfect".

The Great British Bake Off, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, was much talked about on Twitter, generating 161,516 tweets between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. That works out to be 1,346 tweets per minute or 22.4 tweets per second.

Stu was the most discussed contestant on the show, followed by Dorret Conway, who was left in tears and convinced she would be booted out over a cake catastrophe, when her Black Forest Gateau became a collapsed mess.

Bets on the winner of this year's Great British Bake Off have been suspended amid fears the winner's name has been leaked.

Ladbrokes announced it had stopped taking wagers after a flurry of unusual activity on the show.

The bookmaker noticed suspicious play on one contestant, whose odds started at 12/1 and were reduced to 6/1, 3/1 and then evens.

A spokesman said: "When you see a run of bets like this for one contestant at the expense of everyone else, that can be a sign to suspend betting for a bit to assess the situation, and that's exactly what we did."

Many of the bets were placed in shops around Ipswich, although the contestant is not known to have links to the town.

Several of the wagers were the maximum the bookies would take for the show, and 90% were placed on one contestant.

Ladbrokes said several customers came in and asked to place the highest amount possible on one contestant which raised suspicion.

The suspension will not affect bets already placed.

Press Association

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