- Great British Bake Off -The Most Scandalous Moments Of 'The Great British Bake Off'
Despite what the British press may have you believe, The Great British Bake Off is the opposite of drama. So the most scandalous Great British Bake Off moments are rather tame when compared to other reality TV series. That doesn't mean the baking competition show doesn't have the ability to shock at times. But it's like British shock — all prim, proper, and buttoned up. So what's it look like when your TV equivalent of comfort food goes controversial?
The Great British Bake Off (or, if I must, The Great British Baking Show) has experienced some real-life drama off-screen. Contestants experience online bullying from trolls. Contestant Ruby slammed Paul Hollywood as a "peacocking manchild." Prue Leith spoiled the winner ahead of the finale. And let's not forget when the show had a complete overhaul after it moved to the U.K.'s Channel 4 with Mary Berry, Sue Perkins, and Mel Giedroyc leaving the show while Paul alone stayed.
But when it comes to the show, the scandals are far less... scandalous (again, as long as you avoid the British tabloids and social media). Instead, there's soggy bottoms, baking mishaps, and some saucy innuendos. Looking at only the episodes that are available to watch in the U.S., here are the biggest "scandals" that have happened inside of The Great British Bake Off tent.
1. Nancy's Name Game
Collection 1, Episode 6
Rather than use his name, Sue was delighted when Nancy called Paul "the male judge." She continued to refer to him as such throughout the season, including when she won the Finals. Even though it probably wasn't great for Paul's ego (as if he couldn't benefit from being brought down a few notches), it made for great TV.
2. Mat's Baked Icing
Collection 3, Episode 7
Mat made it to Week 7, but still somehow didn't know that one doesn't traditionally bake icing. Eventual winner Nadiya was appalled to discover that Mat put his tennis cake icing into the oven. His hot icing did put him in hot water and Mat was sent home during Victorian Week.
3. Rahul's Broken Glass
Collection 6, Episode 10
When Rahul's glass storage jar exploded due to the heat during the Finals (that tent really is hot), it seemed all hope might be lost for our milk-drinking buddy. But Paul and Prue agreed to give Rahul back the 15 minutes he lost cleaning up the glass and discarding the potentially glass-contaminated food he had previously prepared. He ended up winning the Finals, leading to some people being outraged that the show was rigged. But if Raul can break glass with his mind, then he deserves to be Star Baker.
4. Enwezor's Store-Bought Fondant
Collection 1, Episode 2
Mary Berry never said anything about Enwezor's store-bought fondant during the Biscuit Week Showstopper, but she didn't have to since her disapproving face(s) said it all. That, combined with a stacked structure and bendy biscuits, led Enwezor to go home. The scandal was fresh on fans' minds years later when Prue said that contestants could use store-bought fondant during Biscuit Week in Collection 5. Mary Berry would not approve.
5. Iain's Baked Alaska, AKA "Bingate"
Collection 1, Episode 4
When it comes to GBBO scandals, Bingate takes the cake. Deborah took Iain's ice cream out of the freezer for his Baked Alaska Showstopper. He did not take too kindly to that and with his ice cream all melted, he threw his Baked Alaska into the bin (er, trash, for us Americans). He presented the bin to the judges, leading Paul and Mary to send him home due to, as Sue said, his "moment of madness."
The next week, Deborah was rather suspiciously gone from the show. But it was due to an illness and not the previous week's drama, though she was not happy with how she was portrayed as if she intentionally tried to hurt Iain's chances. Iain added in a statement to the BBC that he didn't blame Diane, but Bingate will still go down in Great British Bake Off history as perhaps the biggest scandal. For instance, in 2018, The Beginnings winner John Whaite appeared to tweet a meme aimed at Diana's alleged subterfuge. Iain replied and called John a twat. John said that his friend had posted the mean tweet about Diana without his knowledge or permission.
6. Sue's Elbow
Collection 2, Episode 2
Host Sue got up close and personal with Howard's English muffins during the Technical Challenge. "I think that's my elbow on your muffin," Sue confessed. During the judging, she informed Paul and Mary about her part in the dented muffin. Howard got tenth in the Technical due to the muffins being undercooked, but he lived to bake another day.
8. Deborah's Custard Steal, AKA "Custardgate"
Collection 2, Episode 3
Poor Howard was embroiled in another scandal where he was unintentionally sabotaged the very next week — this time by a fellow contestant. Deborah accidentally took Howard's custard while constructing her trifle during the Signature Challenge. The judges knew about the mixup and tried to evaluate the elements separately. Deborah felt terrible and was eventually sent home that week. Again, Howard lived to bake another day, lasting until Week 6.
9. Mary's Marijuana Education
Collection 2, Episode 6
For being so mild-mannered, Howard often seemed to find himself in sticky situations. When he used hemp flour in a sweet tea loaf, Mary so purely stated, "I know nothing about hemp. Is it a grass?" To her credit, she didn't seem scandalized to discover that hemp leaf is responsible for "naughty cigarettes." But kudos to the editors for showcasing a shot of Mary sniffing the bag of hemp flour.
10. Paul's Jaffa Dunk
Collection 4, Episode 1
Though keeping her best British manners intact, Mary Berry had to let Paul Hollywood know that he was doing a jaffa faux pas when he dunked her jaffa cake recipe into his tea. "We don't do that in the south, you know," she said, quickly recovering from the offensive scene taking place before her eyes.
11. John's Blood Glove
The Beginnings Season 1, Episode 6
John cut his finger during the strudel Showstopper Challenge and though he tried to persevere with a gloved hand, Cathryn noticed that blood was streaming out of it. "His glove is full of blood," she stated, repeatedly. With his cut too deep, he had to bow out of the challenge. Despite his hurt hand, he later won the season.
12. Cathryn's Dirty Dough
The Beginnings Season 1, Episode 6
In the same episode with John's triage, Sarah-Jane taught Cathryn a dough slapping technique (courtesy of Paul). But during the lesson, Cathryn flung her dough on the green-carpeted floor. Cathryn had to start her strudel dough over since she wasn't "serving Mary Berry green carpet." Sarah-Jane was concerned that Cathryn would blame her for the incident, but she didn't and no one was sent home with all the strudel chaos.
13. Yan's Phallic Pudding
Season 5, Episode 5
Rather than stagger her six molten chocolate puddings with peanut butter filling on the plate, Yan served them straight in a row. So when she ran out of room at the end of her plate and put two side-by-side, it created quite a phallic design that Paul sniggered at. But Yan owned it, stating, "If you're going to serve a cake, serve it phallic."
14. Mel's Measuring
Collection 2, Episode 4
Frances's biscuit tower would've probably fallen anyway. But when Mel measured the tower to make sure it hit the 30-cm mark, it came tumbling down. Even with only a pile of biscuits, Frances made it through Biscuits and Traybakes Week and ended up winning the season.
15. Paul's Three Handshakes
Collection 6, Episode 2
If you think Paul gives out too many handshakes or just hate the Hollywood Handshake in general, then you probably had feelings during Cake Week when he gave out not one, not two, but three Hollywood Handshakes. To add to the drama, he gave his first-ever Showstopper handshake to Rahul (typically, the handshakes were reserved for Signature Challenges) and then immediately following, gave one to Ruby. Paul claimed he was disappointed with himself for giving out two handshakes during the Showstopper, but Paul clearly doesn't regret it too much as he gave one to Crystelle this season.
16. Dave's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Collection 8, Week 1
While Sura was swatting away at a fly on her Technical Challenge pineapple upside-down cakes, Dave was approaching the gingham altar. When Sura backed away, she knocked down Dave's cakes. He handled the situation well, silently walking away from the mess and the judges were told to judge on the ones that hadn't fallen. Sura bittersweetly one that Technical Challenge, but as Dave made it to the Finals, there's no hard feelings.
17. Mary's Carpet Eating
Collection 4, Episode 2
Candice made sticky ginger cake as the carpet for her gingerbread pub. "I'll eat a bit of carpet," Mary Berry very innocently stated, eliciting an eyebrow raise from Candice. Really, viewers have Mel to thank for prompting this response. That combined with both Paul and Mary praising the tastiness of Val's gingerbread sister ("I think your sister tastes lovely," Paul said; "Her sister's absolutely scrumptious," Mary added) made for some top tier GBBO innuendo.
18. Prue's Two Holes
Collection 9, Episode 6
Prue was just trying to help George improve the piping in his chouxnuts (donuts made of choux pastry), but her talking about two holes, squirting, and meeting resistance until they're full made Paul and Matt giggle like immature children. But what's GBBO without the scandalous innuendo?