The Great British Bake Off has been the subject of some pretty strange headlines this year.
Noel Fielding sparked an Ofcom investigation from inside a fridge, the public lost their minds over pre-made fondant and an unusual mini roll recipe, and the frequency of The Paul Hollywood Handshake has been the subject of many an internet meme.
The most damning (and insane) of all, though, were some absurd fix claims about two-time star baker Steven Carter-Bailey, whose personal Instagram account left viewers convinced he was an undercover pro.
A rumour which has only been fuelled by fellow contestant Sophie’s surprising claims about that very first GBBO episode – involving those aforementioned handshakes.
Sophie – who secured herself a spot in the semi-final of the Channel 4 baking competition – has revealed that Steven’s first victory on the show was… well, edited.
Cue shockwaves all over the internet, we imagine.
Thankfully, it’s not quite as scandalous as it sounds.
Speaking to Radio Times about the incident, Sophie explained: “I got the first Hollywood handshake on the show.
“On TV it was edited so it looked like Steven got the first one, but it was actually me.”
An intriguing editorial decision – which, while rather minor, will certainly have given Steven’s handshake some added clout as the first ever of the new series. Then again, Hollywood has been doling them out like an incredibly eager intern on his first office tea run, so we’re not sure being the first of hundreds is anything too special.
Plus, Sophie has said that she’s pleased the honour was given to her fellow contestant – particularly as he’s a dash more “experienced” than she is when it comes to whipping up bakes.
“It was a relief because I wasn't the most experienced baker,” she said.
Before anyone decides to read into the word ‘experienced’ too much, it’s worth pointing out AGAIN that Steven makes his bread as a marketing manager, not as a professional baker.
And, yes, he has whipped up an array of birthday and wedding cakes in the past (we’ve seen his ‘controversial’ Instagram feed, too, OK?), but he did them as favours and gifts for friends and family.
In fact, he learned his skills in the kitchen from watching the most important woman in his life: his mum.
“My mum, Judi, has been such a massive influence on me,” Steven explained in an interview earlier this year. “When she had children, she wanted to provide a warm environment where the oven was always on. Toad in the hole, pies, cakes, she always had something on the go.”
Not-so-subtly reminding the world at large that he is not a covert baking professional, he added: “It’s a cliché but you have to love your job. I’d love to swap my career [to baking] one day.”
We believe in you, Steven: after all, if everyone thinks you’re an undercover pro, you must be doing something right.
Images: Channel 4