Yes, we all feel cheated. Iain was a great contestant with an impeccable beard to boot – but now he’s gone after a thrilling and potentially infuriating episode of Bake Off.
Last night we got some sweet and more sour than we were expecting in Dessert week. The contestants started off with some self-saucing puds, which looked amazing even when they weren’t cooked to perfection. But the sponge lost all its moisture when we made it to the show’s heart-stopping climax (and I mean genuinely heart-stopping with those calorific Baked Alaskas).
Honestly, it was a night of ups and downs. Off the bat, Iain’s beard was on top form. Perfectly groomed; a ‘russet Gandalf’ in Sue’s words. Sue herself was doing brilliantly. She spouted some comic gems like ‘I wouldn’t know where to begin with that’ only seconds after referring to a cake as a ‘Massive Spotted Dick’, perhaps in an attempt to allay the devastation that she knew was to come in the final moments of the ep. And Norman, unsurprisingly, managed to mellow the emotional tone of the show by being the most boring man to ever appear on television.
When we got to the drama of the Iain vs. Diana moment, tempers were running high. In a strike of Machiavellian brilliance, Mary and Paul upped the ante for the show-stopper segment by having the ice-cream-based challenge take place on the hottest day of the year. And temperatures definitely rose in the tent – as Sue cleverly remarked, ‘I don’t think we’ve ever seen this tent so intense…’ The event, for those who don’t know: Diana took Iain’s ice cream out of the freezer, which proved to be a fatal mistake and led to the ruin of his Baked Alaska.
However, as with all controversies, there is more than one layer to this particular sponge. We must slice through the meringue-y exterior of this Baked Alaska of delicious drama to reveal the complexity of elements within. It is true, as Sue has stated on Twitter, that Iain’s ice cream had been out of the freezer for a grand total of forty seconds. Depending on who you ask, those forty seconds are either too long or not long enough to make the difference. But everyone agrees that Iain’s reaction, to throw his entire Baked Alaska in the bin, reflected a personality that one could only have expected from a man with such a wild and free (and yet, totally boss) approach to facial hair.
In the end, I can agree on some level with the judges’ decision to send Iain home. But, dammit, I’ll miss him.
Goodnight, russet Gandalf. As the white wizard himself said, ‘the journey doesn’t end here. Exclusion from Bake Off is just another path. One that we all must take.’