Peter Sawkins on what goes on in Bake Off’s tent when cameras stop – ‘absolutely magical!’

The Great British Bake Off: Channel 4 tease new series for show

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With Great British Bake Off (GBBO) under way, Peter spoke to Express.co.uk about his once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the show last year. He described his time on the programme as “an absolutely magical experience”.

Having watched Bake Off religiously every year since the show’s launch in 2010, Peter didn’t think twice before applying for a place on last year’s programme.

The show looked a little different to usual because it was filmed during the height of the Covid pandemic, but Peter didn’t have any complaints and said he enjoyed “every aspect” of the journey – from the filming and the baking to the socialising, relaxing, and even playing football with his fellow contestants once the cameras stopped rolling.

The 22-year-old said: “Being on the show was just an absolutely magical experience.

“I’d watched it for so long and it had been a huge inspiration to why I bake. So, to actually get to be a part of the show, and to be part of that fun thing people get to watch at home, was just amazing.”

Although it was difficult to hear negative feedback and criticism of his and his fellow contestants’ bakes, one of the best parts of being on the show for Peter was receiving positive feedback.

“You couldn’t help but smile when you or someone else on the team got good feedback from Paul and Prue,” he said.

“It made me really happy.

“But the worst part was the flipside of that – when someone got less than favourable feedback you just wanted to give them a hug. You never wanted to disappoint Paul and Prue.”

Another difficult part was “when someone had to go home each week”, Peter explained.

“It’s just the harsh reality of the show that someone goes every week, and you it’s really sad that you have to say goodbye to someone from your Bake Off family that day.”

After a day of filming, Peter enjoyed spending time with the other contestants, as well as with hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding.

He said: “I found out that Noel is a very good sportsman – a very good athlete. I knocked about a bit on the tennis courts with him and he was a pretty good footballer. Really good.

“That was something I didn’t realise before going on the show.”

Peter “got on well” with the rest of the Bake Off team, saying: “We forged strong relationships in this really intense environment, doing this shared hobby and passion that we love.

“I was so lucky to have this new group of friends through the process, and we still stay in touch on the Baking Bubble WhatsApp group, which is really nice.”

Peter did not either think much about the aftermath of his win and how much it would change his life – from being offered cookbook deals to having people speaking to him on the street.

He said: “Right throughout the process – even from the start of it – people were recognising me on the street.

“Edinburgh’s really small and right near where I live there are lots of students, and students seem to love Bake Off.

“But it was always really nice because if they came up to me, they were fans of the show and they just wanted to say how much they enjoyed it.

“People speaking to me and wanting to take selfies with me has kind of become a part of my daily life now.”

With two years left of his accounting degree at Edinburgh University, Peter still lives in the same flat with the same flatmates as he did before being crowned the winner of Bake Off.

Thinking of his future, the young baker said: “I’m a part time student and trying to do the best I can in my studies, and at the same time I’m running a long this sort of baking career if I can.”

Peter added that he had a “great time” writing his first cookbook, Peter Bakes, which will be out later this year in October.

He said: “I absolutely loved it and I want to explore if there’s anything else out there for me, if I can do a good job of it.”

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