We really need to talk about what happened on The Great British Bake Off

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Amy Swales
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This article contains spoilers for week eight, the 17 October episode, of The Great British Bake Off, including who left during Forgotten Bakes Week and who was Star Baker.

We should say that we still love The Great British Bake Off. We’ll still watch it. We’ll still have strong opinions on the finer details of lattice pastry despite being barely able to knock up a fairy cake ourselves. But we need to talk, Channel 4.

As the entirety of the UK drops to its knees and wails a guttural howl from the very depths of its soul (please: accusations of hyperbole have no place in GBBO chat), the only noise identifiable as words being a strangled “Liam… Liam… Why…?” we are forced to face the fact that Liam Charles’ time in the tent of dreams has come to a premature end in the quarter-finals.

And people are Not Happy.

During week eight – otherwise known as Forgotten Bakes Week – the remaining bakers were asked by judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood to create a signature of Bedfordshire clangers, a Rum Nicky for the technical and a Savoy cake for the showstopper.

Liam, having all but overcome his endearing pessimism of the early weeks, rocked in on a high, winning praise for his pizza-inspired clanger which once again showcased his God-given palate, having Prue cry out, “You’re so good at flavour!” Yes, yes he is, Prue. Thanks for noticing.

Stacey’s clangers meanwhile leaked all over the shop (though they were said to be delicious) while Kate dropped one on the floor. On the actual floor.

Not only that, but it was undercooked. What that is, dear friends, is a raw floor clanger. But did Prue mind? Did Kate get penalised for dropping her bake? No, she did not.

Even Sophie, consistently-plugging-away-in-the-background Sophie, didn’t score well on the signature, accused of too much soy sauce and dry, thick pastry.

But dear Liam shone, giving viewers hope everywhere that he would – after being passed over for Star Baker in Caramel Week (yes he got a conciliatory award the week after, but TOO LITTLE TOO LATE, GUYS) – be rewarded for his efforts this time round.

But twas not to be.

The “precision” technical came next, the Rum Nicky debacle in which pure luck (guessing as to whether pastry should go all the way to the edge of a dish in a bake nobody has ever heard of) was seemingly more important than actually reading the instructions (Stacey added an extra lattice strip on her tart when it was one of the few instructions explicitly given). Liam came last and Stacey came bang in the middle, yet was already being backed by Prue for Star Baker. Kate, meanwhile, was placed second.

gbbo week eight stacey forgotten bakes clanger oven
Stacey scored a place in the Bake Off quarter-finals

Then the showstopper. Viewers pointed out Kate didn’t actually play by the rules: she didn’t use Bundt tins, her cakey plinth fell apart and her liver bird was not the promised sugar, but chocolate. But who knows what will please these judges? Sometimes, a substitution is an unforgivable offence. Other times, who cares, right? Only it turns out lots of people on Twitter care. About Liam.

Only one of her cakes was deemed any good by the judges, with the rest “rough and ready”, “very yellow… bit dry… overcooked” and having “major issues”. Stacey’s received middling feedback, while Liam actually finished early for once. OK, his Savoy masterpiece looked a bit… bird-nesty, and the humidity melted his spun sugar, and apparently the flavour wasn’t really there but hey: if Stacey can be given a free pass for leaving paper – PAPER – in a bake, and Kate can be given another free pass for dropping something on the floor and failing to manage her time properly, Liam will be alright. Won’t he?

Won’t he?

Nope, he got binned.

Others on Twitter took the opportunity to mourn those many also felt were unjustly sacked...

And to count travesties from over the years...

Some speculated on the remaining weeks...

But others used social media to take the high road, looking to the future with a pure and gentle hope in their hearts...

So that’s that, folks. Liam is off, and the remaining bakers heading into the semi-finals are Steven, Stacey, Kate and Sophie.

A bigger outrage than the unusual mini roll recipe, the pre-made fondant incident, the ad breaks or the frequency of The Paul Hollywood Handshake? We couldn’t possibly say.


The Great British Bake Off airs Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4

Images: Channel 4


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.