Oct 17 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
THE Great British Bake Off saw its audience rise to a new high last night, with more than seven million fans tuning in to watch John Whaite be crowned king of the cakes.
The BBC2 show drew its highest average audience yet of 6.5 million, and at its peak 7.2 million were watching the hit show.
Whaite, 23, was a surprise winner for many viewers, who had expected the title to go to one of his two challengers Brendan Lynch and James Morton.
The champ pulled off a double challenge of completing his degree at the same time as perfecting his pastry on the programme.
He was awarded a first-class law degree from Manchester University and said the pressure spurred him on, saying after his win: “If I hadn’t been in the middle of the degree, I’m not sure I would have won.”
Wigan-born Whaite, who now lives in Manchester, aims to publish a recipe book and study as a patissier rather than continuing with further legal studies.
The contestants’ challenges in the final were to create a puff pastry pie called a pithivier, fondant fancies and chiffon sponges.
The show, presented by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and featuring judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, has become an unlikely hit and pulled in 5.6 million viewers last week, beating BBC1’s Holby City.
Last night’s edition was the highest rating episode yet of Great British Bake Off.