GBBO: Dorset's Maggie leaves The Great British Bake Off tent
- Credit: Love Productions
In Tuesday’s night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Chigs got a Hollywood Handshake and was named Star Baker for the first time. Meanwhile for Maggie, 70 from Poole it was her final bake as she became the fourth baker to leave the tent.
It was dessert week and Prue and Paul were looking for the bakers to produce the perfect finale to any meal. The bakers put their twist on the classic Pavlova, there followed an unctuous toffee pudding technical and an intricate showstopper finale, in which they had to create a delicate dessert wrapped in patterned sponge.
So, what has Maggie’s Great British Bake Off journey been like? ‘The whole thing has been such good fun, just to have been part of it is has been a complete joy,’ declared the former midwife. ‘To stay for four weeks comes pretty high on a personal level. Though nothing can beat delivering a baby and bringing a new life into the world, but it comes a close second.’
How was dessert week for her? ‘I forgot to put the flour in the sticky toffee puddings, I missed an instruction on the second page where it said to add the flour. I did try to reason that mine was gluten free but I don’t think the judges were buying it!’
Later, Maggie had to redo part of her showstopper which put her behind the curve. ‘I had to start that again from scratch as it had gone very wrong. At the end I couldn’t take the collar off the bavarois, and there was an avalanche of strawberry jelly oozing out. The judges did say it tasted lovely, but I pretty much knew my Bake Off time was up, but I was happy to go.
‘I like to live dangerously, I have got a great sense of adventure, and when life is a bit on the edge I find that very exciting. Being in the Bake Off tent meant sometimes I was hanging off the edge a bit too much, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t think at the age of 70 I would be doing something like this, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone of a similar age. I have achieved a lot in my life but I think this is one of the unforgettable experiences that I will always treasure.
What is life like for Maggie in her home town of Poole now that she is a TV star? ‘I am enjoying every small moment of fame. I am known in the area where I live as I have taught a lot of people’s children to play tennis, and over the years I have delivered a lot of babies. But it’s wonderful to be recognised and everyone is always so lovely, supportive and complimentary. I am very proud of where I live, and I hope I have done Dorset, the county, proud. I will continue to make Dorset Knobs and Dorset apple cake.
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What were her favourite parts of GBBO? ‘The technical challenges, even though I found them tough. We were all in the same boat. It was really exciting revealing the ingredients and the recipe. I should have done better. The worst challenges were the showstoppers. I didn’t have the imagination or the expertise to produce a “wow” moment… but I am working on it.’
Funniest moments? 'The expressions on Paul’s face! He would walk in to judge the technicals and his look at times was of slight despair. Paul kept teasing me in the first episode of my likeness to Prue, it was very funny and I did get to wear her bright pink glasses at one stage, when Paul put them on me.'
But Paul made you cry? He said that I must try harder at the end of episode 2, it wasn’t that comment that made me cry, but I found it surprising how emotional you become in the tent. It’s a 'mix of trying your best against the clock and being in a completely different baking environment balanced with the support and help you get from the other bakers and everyone on the production team. I was just a bit overwhelmed with it all.'
What next now you have left the famous GBBO tent? ‘My family have loved watching Bake Off especially the little ones who get very excited seeing all the coverage. Another Bake Off bonus for me has been the company of the other bakers, we are all great friends. The future for me in baking is to get better. I have discovered I love patisserie. I will take away from the tent an experience that I will never ever forget in so many ways. I feel so incredibly privileged to be able to say that I am actually part of the “Bake Off family” and I am so grateful that they chose me. I still can’t believe it.’
Maggie will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 15 October on Channel 4 at 8pm.