Entertainment & Arts

Great British Bake Off return attracts 7.2 million viewers

Warning: This story contains spoilers

Contestants for series 5 of Great British Bake Off Image copyright PA
Image caption Ready, steady, bake: 12 new contestants wrestled with Swiss roll and cherry cake

The Great British Bake Off has returned to TV screens, attracting an average 7.2 million viewers.

The fifth series opener, broadcast on BBC One after moving from BBC Two last year, peaked at 7.9 million viewers.

The audience is an improvement on last year's launch programme, which was watched by 5.6 million.

Speech therapist Claire Goodwin became the first amateur baker to be eliminated after shedding tears when her Swiss roll failed to impress.

"I'm just really disappointed with myself," she said. "I don't know why I'm crying over cake".

The programme beat all other channels in its timeslot with a 34.6% share of all TV viewing.

An edition of All Star Mr & Mrs on ITV attracted an average 3.1 million viewers, while BBC Two's The Stuarts was watched by one million and Channel 4's Double Your House for Half on Channel 4 was seen by 1.3 million viewers. Channel 5's Emergency Bikers attracted 800,000.

Along with the Swiss roll, judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry set the technical task of creating a cherry cake, while the showstopper challenge saw the contestants create miniature cakes of their own design.

Newspapers gave positive reviews to the first episode.

The Daily Mail's Jim Shelley said the show was "as instantly addictive as ever, like catnip for the middle-classes, the cake equivalent of crack".

Image copyright PA
Image caption All smiles? Claire Goodwin was eliminated in the first episode

The newspaper claimed the Swiss roll task supported its suspicion programme producers had selected personalities, rather than the best bakers, from the thousands of people that applied to go on the show.

But the Independent's Ellen Jones said the line up "may be the most amusing and instantly likable yet".

"Neither age nor experience is any indication of aptitude however, and a tricky signature challenge soon began sorting the dedicated from the dilettantes," she said.

Contestants this year include a builder and the show's oldest and youngest contestants to date.

Diana Beard, who is 69 years old, says she has been baking for six decades. In contrast 17-year-old student Martha Collison is working towards AS levels in food technology, maths and chemistry.

Presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins were singled out for criticism by some reviewers, however.

"Their endless innuendos about buns, nuts and muffins... wore thin," said Sarah Rainey in the Telegraph.

"Berry was as huggable as ever, a sprightly foil to Hollywood's grouchy jibes... he had dressed up for the occasion, but he remained the bad cop in Berry's glam granny routine."

Next week's programme will be dedicated to biscuits.

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