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The Great British Bake Off semi-final: Fondant fancies and sweaty brows

BY Holly Wade

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

The Great British Bake Off semi-final: Fondant fancies and sweaty brows

Things quite literally hotted-up on The Great British Bake Off as we entered the legendary patisserie week in the race to make it through the semi-finals. Our TV writer Holly Wade's got all the gossip. 

The semi-final of the Bake Off is when things really start to get serious. No one wants to leave this close to the final and we don’t want anyone to exit at such a late stage either.

Patisserie week is a staple of the show, requiring the baking finesse that can see you safely through or falling at the last hurdle. Right from the off the tent looked very empty with only Selasi, Candice, Andrew and Jane left. Selasi never looks particularly phased by the competition and this week he was as relaxed as ever, even finishing Mary’s sentences.

A both delightful and horrific moment ensued as Selasi took it upon himself to tell his fellow bakers how much time was left for their signature bake of savoury palmiers. Mel and Sue proceeded to joke that this is the only job they have, Sue describing herself as ‘the talking clock with puns’. When the series was filmed they surely had no idea that this would have such a strong resonance now as Bake Off prepares for its move to Channel 4 and the comediennes call it quits?

There was a lot of mess created for so few contestants but the camaraderie of both the bakers and judges was more apparent than ever with Mary aiding Andrew with his dry pastry, Selasi giving the others some advice on chilling and ‘nasty’ judge Paul even letting the melted cream slide (pun very much intended) as summer hit the tent—has he finally gone soft?

Mel and Sue came into their own—gosh we’ll miss them—with the former helping Candice to apply her lipstick and the latter drying Selasi’s face with paper towels when the heat got a little too much. Now that the duo are no longer fronting the show, I wonder if they might assist me in my daily life instead, they really are great stress relievers.



"There was a lot of mess created for so few contestants"



Fussy eaters would have been dismayed by this week's baking. Not only do the contestants poke and prod their bakes, but the five-second rule has come into play on more than one occasion. I know most of it looks pretty appetising but would you really want to eat it? I do hope they wash their hands!

The technical challenge consisted of a savarin cake made with liquor and cream (definitely one for Mary) where Jane came out on top. The following showstopper of fondant fancies showed off Andrew’s skills and musical interest and it was no real surprise that ‘Star Baker’ was awarded to him.

The semi-final was a particularly charming episode full of wit and fun. The final four started the weekend ready to bring their A-game to the competition but sadly Selasi had to leave, having held on by the skin of his teeth for a little while. 

With all that is going wrong with the world, Bake Off really is the shining beacon of niceness on television. As Andrew put it: ‘keep calm and carry on’, because that is the British way. But one thing, after seven series of avid viewing, that I would really love to know is why the bakers wear the same clothes for the whole weekend when we all know that it’s filmed over two days. Any ideas?


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