The Great British Bake Off had viewers on the edge of their seats, as the remaining four Bake Off hopefuls battled it out for a coveted place in the final. With wooden spoons at the ready Flora Shedden, Ian Cummings, Tamal Ray and Nadiya Hussain got their baking game on for Chocolate Week.
Famed for her endlessly fascinating facial expressions as much as for her culinary masterpieces, Nadiya was brim full of emotions, experiencing chocolate hell and heaven in the course of three challenges.
While she received the honour of a handshake from baking maestro Paul Hollywood for her peanut dusted chocolate tart, it wasn't long before she was reduced to tears in the soufflé technical challenge which was a recipe for disaster, literally.
"Why have I never made a soufflé? Oh yeah, coz they're a pain to make" she said as she attempted to grapple with the soggy mess before her. While Mel and Sue innocently pondered why the baking kit included paperclips, clearly at the end of her chocolate rope, Nadiya snapped back in a characteristic acerbic tone: "Yes, for filing it away in the folder that says NEVER BAKE AGAIN."
Taking last place in the challenge, Nadiya melted hearts as she broke down in tears. "I just didn't want to come last," she sobbed. "I know I'm going home." Despite her chocolate meltdown, she managed to turn the tables, winning Star Baker for the third time with her spectacular chocolate peacock showstopper. "It looks good and it tastes good," said Paul.
Meanwhile, Bake-Off heart-throb Tamal, who has been winning admirers since he revealed his current single status, received consistent praise from the judges for his inventive tart and soufflé, though he lost points for his messy 3-tier bell tower showstopper.
Ian also had a good week that concluded with a feat of construction to be marvelled at, in the form of a working chocolate well.
But it all went horribly wrong for Flora, whose over-embellished tart with it's poorly made macarons and her crumbly carousel, fell foul of the judges. "If you're going to do a macaron, do it properly," said Paul rather harshly. The 19-year-old from Perthshire became the ninth baker to leave the tent after Chocolate Week despite having come first in the chocolate soufflé technical challenge.
"I am gutted of course I am but I feel so so honoured and very privileged to have got this far. What a fantastic nine weeks," she said as she bowed out of the competition.
As Nadiya, Tamal and Ian make it through to the final, the tension is already at fever pitch with Nadiya and Tamal hotly tipped to go head-to-head in a Bake-Off showdown.
Contemplating the drama of the semi-final an emotional Ian said: "I felt like I got through by the skin of my teeth today I thought that was it. Im going home."
"I cant believe it. I'm actually a finalist," said an elated Tamal. "I kind of want to start working now I don't want to go to bed."
As for Nadiya, who has had the nation captivated, as much by her wry musings and her breakdowns as her culinary concoctions, happily, tears turned to laughter, as she shared the news with her children that she is through to the final.
Nadiya joins Tamal Ray and Ian Cumming in the final, which airs next Wednesday (October 7) at 8pm on BBC One.
I just want Nadiya to be my best friend #GBBO
— Camilla Whitehill (@camillavalerie_) September 30, 2015
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 30, 2015
So happy Nadiya got star baker again and into the final, her show stopper looked amazing!!! #GBBO
— Charlotte Potter (@charljadepotter) September 30, 2015
Ian you can't make a chocolate well and cry in the same episode. My emotions are all over the place #GBBO
— Jem (@_nameofbeauty) September 30, 2015
Should have been Ian leaving. But Tamal for the win! Or Nadia! Or Tamal! Namal! Tadia! Argh. Has there ever been a draw? #GBBO
— Martha Ashby (@miashby) September 30, 2015
Nadiya to win, purely on the strength of her reaction faces. #GBBO
— Ian Symes (@ianiansymes) September 30, 2015
— Ryan Love (@RyanJL) September 30, 2015