TV Overnights: The Bake Off's fondant farewell nets 6m for BBC Two

17 Oct 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

After ten long weeks, last night finally brought us the all-male final of The Great British Bake Off (BBC Two), with the intense competition easily securing the 8pm slot.

The burden of performing week after week weighed heavily on the boys and there were plenty of tears from Brendan and John. James remained his calm, stoic self - despite his bold experiments backfiring at the final hurdle.

Brendan's consistent results saw the Irish Buddhist baker's confidence grow, sifting and kneading with the confidence of a pint-sized Terminator. Unfortunately, his new found cocky attitude didn't stop his 25 fondant fancies looking like somebody regurgitated the contents of a little girl's bedroom.

In the end it was John's chiffon cake that tingled Mary's berry and, in front of friends, ex-contestants and a fairly sneerful family, he was crowned the winner of this year's competition. The law student trainee pâtissier from Manchester looked as genuinely shocked (as everyone else) while Brendan attempted to stay calm and pleasant. The finale brought in the series' biggest audience yet, with 6.1 million viewers tuning in for the last visit to the most stressful tent in Somerset, resulting in an 11% share for BBC Two.

Meanwhile on ITV1, many football fans worse nightmare came true. No, Poland didn't beat England -something much, much worse was afoot. Heavy rain in Warsaw saw the pitch waterlogged and Adrian Chiles' usual half hour pre-match banter was extended to an hour and a half. Chiles spoke to the Polish media, some FA pals and Roy Keane, all the while viewers were treated to lovely visuals of the ref kicking a ball about in the rain.

Still, they must have been doing something right as the Group H washout captured an average audience of 4.2 million people, resulting in a 17% share. Just before the scheduled kick off time at 8pm, the audience peaked at 5.3 million. Next time someone just needs to close the roof.

ITV1 finally decided to call it quits at 9pm, as the nation wondered which formulaic detective/medical procedural would keep the mood light. In the end it was Doc Martin to the rescue! Dr Martin Ellingham and his small town foibles pulled in 1.7 million viewers out of the rain, securing an 8% share.

BBC One at 9pm saw The Paradise open its doors for another hour of frocked fun. The fourth episode in the series saw a green-eyed monster wreak havoc in ye olde department store. Sadly, this wasn't a literal event but Denise did make a few enemies when she was temporarily promoted to head of ladies wear (these were the days before sisterhood after all). The nostalgic bout of backstabbing saw a 5% rise week on week and secured 5.2 million viewers (a 22% share) for BBC One, overshadowing Martin Clunes rural tomfoolery on the other side.

An hour earlier on BBC One, Holby City grabbed 5 million viewers, although this was not enough to win back the 8pm slot from The Back Off final. The medical series kicked off its 15th series (though you wouldn't notice - it's not like it took a break or anything) and pulled in a 20% share.

Earlier, Emmerdale brought in ITV1's biggest audience as the village was preparing for two weddings and two births (although they're still in the dark about the mysterious death). It was the day before the hour-long 40th anniversary live episode and Debbie Dingle's contractions kicked off.

That leaves four out of the five events to be covered tomorrow - let's hope the Yorkshire weather clears up. The tension-building worked well for the soap, with 7 million (a 34% share) viewers tuning in.

After all the later hullabaloo and madness, it was EastEnders (BBC One) that brought Tuesday's biggest audience to their screens. It was a special day in Walford as Syed and Christian finally tied the knot. But not before the usual bout of lies, revelations and bailiffs cutting off the electricity. The nuptials brought in 7.7 million viewers, securing a 34% share.

Overnight data is available each morning in mediatel.co.uk's TV Database, with all BARB registered subscribers able to view reports for terrestrial networks and key multi-channel stations.

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