Great British Bake Off, episode 5, review: Kate comes out top as Paul Hollywood piles on pressure for pie week

But can we trust the BBC's editing anymore after 'bingate'?

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The Independent Culture

After last week’s dramatic ‘bingate’, as it shall ever been known in Bake Off folklore, it was back to the serious business of baking in the tent.

The half-way stage passed without Iain and chief-suspect Dianaretired from the competition due to illness – in a week  where we saw some forerunners for the title emerge, or at least a few characters robust and confident enough to survive an interrogation from Paul.

Read more: Custard tart recipe

In this, tarts and pies week, we saw the pastry expert in full flow. He was DCI Hollywood to Berry’s Miss Marple in a natty pink biker jacket, who came to the work stations determined to find the holes in the contestants’ accounts of their bakes: “What are you doing? What sort of pastry are you going to use? Are you shaking there, Chetna?,” he probed, steely eyes searching the faces of his charges for weaknesses, Scouse vowels lending themselves brilliantly to his role as sceptical and wary detective.

Paul reduces Martha to tears over criticism of her runny tart.JPG
Paul reduces Martha to tears over criticism of her runny tart

As usual, all three tasks had the potential to go very wrong; custard tarts that you don’t know are cooked until the judges cut them open; mini pear pies no one had seen, let alone baked before; and a self-supporting pie structure with at least three tiers.

Inevitably, there were problems. Tarts were runny, timings were missed and pies were leaking. At one point, poor Martha cried when her custardy mess came up against Paul’s penetrating glare.

Richard too, previously the most solid of competitors, crumbled when all the pastry slipped off his (not quite poached) pear pies: “I think I would have done better had I set the tent on fire,” he declared.

And just as Hollywood and Berry have almost become parodies of themselves, the contestants are increasingly intriguing characters. But, after last week’s framing of Diana, we were left questioning the Beeb’s editing. Could Norman really be that apathetic to the chaos? And man of simple tastes or not, did he actually think tarte au citron was “exotic”?

Either way, as per, it was all highly entertaining, particularly Nancy’s girlish giggle as she made use of Richard’s ever-present pencil (someone give that man his own show – The Burly Baker, we can see it now).

In the end it was Norman who was guilty of crimes against baking, brought down by his messy tarts and some overly-potent lavender meringue.

Star baker Kate's pie 'Showstopper' got Paul's approval.JPG
Star baker Kate's pie 'Showstopper' got Paul's approval

When it came to the denouement, he was ambivalent: “I’m overjoyed I made it to the fifth week and at the same time a wee bit sad that I have to go back home,” he said looking neither joyful nor sad. But hey, that’s Norman, or so the Beeb would lead us to believe, anyway.

Read more: Diana quits Bake Off after falling ill