Great British Bake Off, review: Richard excels as Paul Hollywood ignites alpha male baker battle

While Mary Berry enjoyed tucking into Louis's alcoholic donuts

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Advanced dough week saw the usual baking mishaps and personal triumphs, but that was by the by as all eyes were on Paul Hollywood the puffed-up peacock.

Displaying his beautiful blue feathers (or eyes, in this case), Paul strutted around the tent like a brooding bird keen to ward off male competitors.

Meanwhile, Mary Berry was too busy tucking into Baileys straws to make any other comment other than her trademark phrase: “That was absolutely scrummy”.

It seems the Great British Bake Off has taken a leaf out of The X Factor’s book when it comes to the judges. We can’t stop talking about them, idolising their bright clothes or buying tickets to see them at live food shows.

Martha's spiced plum loaf

Such is the level of judge reverence that Louis and Richard admitted to cowering in Paul Hollywood’s wake when he comes to scrutinise their bakes. But even Louis is beginning to imitate Peacock Paul, looking sturdy and almost over-confident when presenting his signature bake, a black forest tree of buns packed with brandy-soaked morello cherries.

Martha at times also seemed rather pleased with herself, especially after mastering the ‘cling-film method’ so her filling would spread evenly over a thin layer of Patitsa dough in the technical.

Unfortunately she had little reason to be happy as her expert method meant the cake loaf didn’t spend enough time in the oven and she presented a raw bake to the judges. Overproved donut dough in the showstopper was the final straw and the 17-year-old was sent home.

A raw Patitsa (or two) line up for the technical challenge

It can’t be easy to bake alongside amateurs who have at least twice as much experience as you, but at least Martha did so honestly and showed none of the false modesty last year’s youngest contestant Ruby Tandoh possessed.

Meanwhile, Nancy seemed immune to the idea of modesty when Paul called her up on her irregularly coloured donuts. “They look alright to me,” she said, gleaming with northern pride, leading Paul to ask her directly: “Would you ever say if you thought they were bad?” She wasn’t given time to reply but it probably would have been a no.


Chetna continues to go from strength to strength, thanks in part to a fortuitous choice in the technical challenge bake that saw her make a Patitsa again, but to her credit her donuts also looked lovely and flavoursome.

Louis’ cocktail donuts (cocknuts?) went down a treat with Mary, who usually shuns such gimmicks, but Richard won the alpha male battle, taking home the title of star baker again.

A male-dominated final is looking increasingly likely after tonight’s episode - let’s just hope Paul doesn’t get his feathers in a twist.

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