LONDON (NYTimes) - The current season of the much-loved amateur baking show The Great British Bake Off came to an end on British television on Tuesday night (Oct 31), in a finale that rose to the occasion.
But by the time it aired, some viewers already knew the name of the winner. One of the judges, Prue Leith, had mistakenly tweeted about it.
On Tuesday morning, 10 hours before the recorded episode went on the air, Leith, a chef and writer, tweeted, "No one told me judging #gbbo final would be so emotional. I wanted them all to win." She then congratulated the winner.
Leith deleted the tweet and apologised, explaining that she was in Bhutan and had been confused about the time zone difference.
The revelation didn't seem to deter viewers; a live audience of 7.3 million tuned in to watch the final installment of a show that has been hailed as a unifying force in Britain.
(If you'd like to avoid all spoilers, look away now.)
Sophie Faldo, a 33-year-old former army officer, triumphed over the other finalists, Kate Lyon and Steven Carter-Bailey, by dazzling the judges in the final "showstopper" round with a seven-layer cake known as an entremet. Called "Ode to the Honey Bee", it featured lavender mousse, honey custard, blackberry jelly and lemon curd.
"I just disbelieve it," Faldo said after the results were announced. "The idea of winning was such a minute possibility. I don't think I'll forget this for as long as I live."
The current season, the eighth broadcast in Britain, has been rocked by drama, even before the first episode aired. Producers said last September that the show would leave the BBC for a rival network, Channel 4.
Despite some initial grumbles about the introduction of commercials, which are not shown on the publicly funded BBC, the show has averaged 8.9 million viewers a week. (The BBC version of the series had about 13.5 million viewers each week, although the national broadcaster generally has bigger audiences.)
The move also meant major alterations to the cast: Three of the four hosts - celebrity chef Mary Berry and comedians Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc - said they would not follow the show to Channel 4. Only baker Paul Hollywood stayed on as a judge.
Leith signed on as a judge, and comedians Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding became hosts.
Beyond the casting changes, the format stayed true to the original formula.
Channel 4 said that Bake Off would return for another season with the same cast. Applications for contestants are already open.