Entertainment & Arts

Great British Bake Off opener watched by 9.3m viewers

Great British Bake Off
Image caption The series began with 12 bakers

Warning: this story contains spoilers.

The return of BBC One's The Great British Bake Off attracted 9.3 million viewers - more than two million up on last year's opening episode.

Wednesday saw the start of the journey for 12 amateur bakers who are vying to be crowned the latest Bake Off winner.

Last year saw the series move from BBC Two to One, and it attracted huge ratings thanks to headline-grabbing incidents such as "Flangate".

A record 12.3 million viewers watched Nancy Birtwhistle win the final.

The opening episode in 2014 was watched by 7.2 million people, while the previous year's premiere was seen by 5.6 million.

Last night 43% of all TV viewers were watching Bake Off, with a peak viewing figure of 10 million at 20:50 BST. The overnight figures are likely to rise once the consolidated figures are released, which add views from time-shifted and catch-up services.

Image caption Stuart Henshall was first out of the tent

The series premiere saw musician Stuart Henshall become the first contestant to leave, as his Madeira sponge, walnut cake and Black Forest gateau failed to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

His failure was compounded by the fact that another contestant's signature bake completely collapsed after her chocolate mousse did not set. Dorret Conway's sunken gateau brought on the first tears of the series.

The Great British Bake Off is hosted by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, who in part are responsible for the popularity of the show, winning praise for their funny and caring presenting style.

Perkins returned to Twitter yesterday following a four-month sabbatical prompted by a barrage of hateful tweets over rumours she would take over Top Gear.

"Bake Off Series 6 spoiler! Format change means all-new Swimwear Round replaces Showstopper Challenge. (And hello BTW, I've missed you xx)," she wrote ahead of the premiere.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes has suspended betting on the show after a flurry of wagers sparked fears the winner's name may have been leaked.

"A run of bets" was placed for one contestant, many at shops in the Ipswich area, the bookmaker said.

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