Great British Bake Off's tear-filled final: Underdog rises to a worthy and emotional win

Katie Archer
Contributor
(Channel 4)

The Great British Bake Off’s fans got a big surprise with the winner tonight as underdog David Atherton stormed to victory in the most emotional final the show has ever seen.

The final is, of course, also known as the anniversary of that time in 2017 when Prue Leith went on holiday, forgot about the time difference, and leaked the winner half a day before it aired.

She has now successfully got through a second series without giving away the winner, leaving viewers with the surprise news that David had been crowned the series champion.

The nurse had admitted throughout the final that he was the underdog of the competition, having never won Star Baker and going up against Steph who had won it four times and Alice who had won two weeks.

Steph was widely expected to win the whole show, but a series of kitchen disasters reduced her to tears that broke viewers’ hearts, with even stony-faced Paul Hollywood having to step in to comfort her.

There were also rare teary scenes for Alice, as she spent the whole of the final challenge worrying that her parents were going to miss seeing the result because of a cancelled flight.

Before we get onto everything that happened in the final, this is just a reminder that it’s Halloween this week - so if Helena had never been booted from the tent, just imagine the monstrous final Showstopper we could have been enjoying tonight.

Yes, it was all recorded much earlier in the year, but as the Queen of Screams never tired of telling us, every day is Halloween for her.

Still, there was plenty to look forward to from David, Steph and Alice - here’s how it all played out.

Read more: Henry’s reaction to his Hollywood Handshake was TV gold

The Signature Bake

Bravo, Bake Off - some of the themes this year have been a little out there, but the ultimate chocolate cake is the challenge everyone wants to see in a final.

Going on flavours alone, we thought Alice’s chocolate, pear, ginger and maple cake sounded the most delicious, but she had some stiff competition from David’s chocolate, prune and Armagnac number, and Steph’s retro chocolate Black Forest cake.

One of the best things about the final is finding out about the bakers’ lives outside the tent, and Steph’s relationship with her mum is pretty much goals for all of us. Awww.

Also, wonderfully, David’s parents are called Richard and Judy.

Meanwhile, we discovered that Alice comes from the most organised family in the world, with an Instagram-level pristine kitchen - not at all expected from the absolute carnage of her bench every week.

Read more: Alex Hollywood breaks her silence on ‘difficult’ divorce

David’s chocolate cake looked beautiful but tasted too boozy (even for Prue Leith), Alice’s looked clumsy but tasted delicious (although Paul would have liked more chocolate), and Steph smashed it on both fronts.

Who won the Technical?

Ooh, Bake Off you are really spoiling us with the final challenges, which in this round featured Stilton souffles - the bakers looked horrified, but the viewers were delighted.

Hilarity in the tent as Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith pretended they weren’t going to leave for the task, which cracked Sandi Toksvig up. Jokes!

David admitted he’d once commandeered an old flatmate’s souffle dish as a plant pot, so hopefully his souffle knowledge had come on since then.

However, Alice was possibly worse off when she admitted to never having made a roux before. Does she never eat macaroni cheese? Lasagne? Fish pie?

Steph decided to go for the opposite technique of the other two, filling her tins right to the top rather than leaving them space to rise, and using cold water instead of hot for her bain marie. Would her risks pay off?

Nope - Bake Off law is that one baker has to cry every Technical, and this week was Steph’s turn as all of her souffles collapsed in an undercooked puddle.

Hurrah for David, the series’ perennial runner-up, who won his last ever Technical, but our hearts were still breaking for Steph over her souffle disaster.

The Showstoppers

High drama going into the final day, as Alice got a phone call from her parents with the devastating news that their flight had been cancelled meaning they wouldn’t be at the celebration garden party to either celebrate or commiserate over the result with her.

But there was no time for tears as the last challenge of series 10 got underway - a picnic basket with each element disguised as a different bake to what it appeared to be.

Seriously, was this the best year ever for final challenges? We think so.

While the finalists were having meltdowns over their ambitious bakes, Noel Fielding found the lure of the helter-skelter outside too much and did what we all would have done - quit the tent for a go on the slide.

Every illusion picnic looked incredible to us, but in a shock twist Steph, who our money was on as the winner all the way through, had a disastrous final day leaving the way open for David and Alice.

It was one of the most emotional finals we’ve seen, as even steely Paul had to come and give Steph a hug to comfort her on a disappointing Showstopper.

As the challenge drew to a close, we welcomed back some familiar faces including favourites Helena, Jamie and Michael.

Great news for Alice as her parents managed to make it to the party in the nick of time, which left just the result to announce...

Who won The Great British Bake Off 2019?

David Atherton was the very well-deserved champion of series 10, despite going into the final with seemingly the lowest chance of being victorious.

His final Showstopper illusion picnic basket was one of the most accomplished things we’ve ever seen on Bake Off, and he even got a rare win in the Technical.

The champion baker’s cool, calm and collected demeanour served him well in a final where everyone else was falling to pieces and he was a worthy winner.

Also, his fig-roll-as-a-sausage-roll homage to Jamie was the best present he could have offered us.

However, we can’t help but feel terrible for Steph, who looked like she had a win in the bag until a series of wrong moves and losing her nerve saw her chances crumble.

It was great to see the round-up at the end of how much the Class of 2019 all still love each other - they’ve been our favourite group so far and any one of them could have won the whole thing.

Read more: Paul Hollywood made over nine times more than his Bake Off co-stars last year