The Great British Bake Off: The final which reduced Britain to a puddle of tears

It wasn't just the carrot cake that crumbled. 

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Last night was the final episode of the Great British Bake Off 2015. It was a flurry of bunting, raspberries, cream and plenty of cake. Though both Ian and Tamal produced outstanding results in all three challenges, it was the people’s favourite, Nadiya Hussain, who walked away with the coveted title. That is, after she and her fellow contestants had reduced the British nation to a puddle of tears.

Who knew it was possible to get so emotional about cake? Who knew a television show about baking would make such great entertainment? Perhaps it’s because, behind all the food porn and the innuendos and the bunting, GBBO is a show about people, British people, and the beautiful and eclectic talent that one tent creates.

As the contestants moved into the last showstopper challenge of the season, the cameras were invited into the homes of the three finalists to meet their respective families, who cropped up again at the tea-party where the winner was announced. First was Tamal, who baked with his sister growing up. When she asked where he would be without her, he said “probably a millionaire, on my yacht, somewhere in the Mediterranean.” “But would you be happy?” she asked. “Well yeah, I’d have a yacht.” Wise words from TV’s favourite baking anaesthetist. “He’s the full package for me, he’s good looking, he’s funny, he’s intelligent.” She said she’d promised not to cry, and failed. Who wouldn’t well up talking about lovely Tamal?:

Then came an introduction to Ian and his adorable children. “My daddy’s done really well to get to the final.” His wife then explained that he had become a “man obsessed” by his project, but that he was a “rock” in their family. Later, as he delivered his carrot waterfall cake structure, a teary Ian reflected on the competition. “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve put a lot into this… I’ve gone and given it my all.” He dabbed the tears with his apron and let the marvellous carrot cake bask in his glory. “One of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had,” said Ice Man Hollywood.

Then came the commentary from the friends and family of winner Nadiya Hussain. Her husband expressed overwhelming pride in her achievement in getting to the finals. “This is definitely the first time she’s gone away and has done something for herself. I don’t care what happens in the final. She’s a winner. She’s a champion in our eyes.” Once the result had been revealed, even Mary Berry started to well-up, saying that “she had this look, that she was going to do it.” The show drew to a close as Nadiya delivered this beautiful, genuine speech which was the final word in her evolution from shy and fearful baker to confident sugar artist: “I am 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.” 

Helen Thomas is a freelance journalist and English student. She tweets at @helenthomascph

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