Peter Sawkins becomes Generation Bake Off's first winner

Anita Singh
·3 min read
Peter Sawkins can barely remember life before Bake Off  - Love Productions
Peter Sawkins can barely remember life before Bake Off - Love Productions

Past winners of The Great British Bake Off fell in love with baking at their grandmother's knee. This year's star baker is a little different.

At the tender age of 20, Peter Sawkins can barely remember life before Bake Off and as he grew up watching it the show inspired him to take up baking.

Last night, the Edinburgh university student became the show's youngest winner, beating fellow finalists Laura Adlington and Dave Friday.

"It's a show I've watched all my life," Mr Sawkins told Paul Hollywood on the show. "Don't say that, it makes me feel really old," Hollywood replied.

Mr Sawkins was favourite to win from early in the series. After receiving the trophy, he said: "I can't quite believe that I am here, I can't quite believe that I made it on to the show, and I can't quite believe that the show happened. This is going to be a really huge chapter in my life, and what a way for it to end."

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He added: "I wanted this a lot. When I was 12, I was watching repeats of Bake Off back to back and it got me into baking big time.

"I am a Bake Off nerd, and I think 12-year-old Peter would be in awe, and just the most excited, giddy kid. I am that excited, giddy kid right now."

Mr Sawkins watched the show from its beginnings in 2010, when it made its debut on BBC Two and was a less slick affair, bringing in a modest 2.75 million viewers for the final.

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The contestants in that first series went in with no expectations of fame, although the winner, Edd Kimber, was able to quit his job as a litigation clerk and embark on a career as a food writer.

The show became a phenomenon, and was promoted to BBC One before it moved to Channel 4 in 2017. Some of the winners, such as Nadiya Hussain, have become household names.

Mr Sawkins said he had no immediate plans and intended to complete his degree in accountancy and finance. "I am studying at Edinburgh University and it's my third year in a four-year degree. It's been an interesting year," he said, referring to lockdown. "It is an odd start for any student; add on Bake Off and it's even more bizarre.

"I have started to be recognised a little bit more, but everyone has been such good fun and supportive."

The series was a ratings hit as viewers sought "comfort TV" during lockdown. The launch show drew an audience of 6.9 million, the highest ratings for Channel 4 in two years, rising to nearly 11 million when the week's catch-up viewing was added. Bake Off was filmed during the summer and Mr Sawkins had to keep his win under wraps.

He said: "After winning the trophy, I had to smuggle it on the plane back to Edinburgh. I was a bit stressed when we went through the scanners." Because of the pandemic, families and friends were unable to attend to see the winner announced.

Instead, cast and crew gathered outside the tent, having isolated together as part of the Bake Off "bubble".

Was Peter a worthy Bake Off winner? Share your review of the final in the comments section below