Shropshire Star

Shropshire's Diana Beard leaves Great British Bake Off

Diana Beard will not be appearing in the rest of the Great British Bake Off after she fell ill ahead of filming earlier this year, it emerged this evening.


Diana was seen by viewers taking fellow contestant Iain Watters' baked Alaska out of the freezer, leaving the ice cream to melt in 25C (77F) heat. Iain was subsequently booted off the show for "unacceptable" behaviour after binning his baking and returning to the judges with nothing to show.

"Freezergate", as the incident was swiftly dubbed following last night's episode, sparked a flurry of criticism for Diana on Twitter, with many calling for Iain to be reinstated at her expense.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday evening, the BBC confirmed her role in the series had ended.

The 69-year-old, from Alkington, near Whitchurch, was shocked after last night's episode was screened.

Speaking this morning, she told the Shropshire Star that programme makers had made her a "scapegoat".

  • Listen to Diana's interview this morning with BBC Radio Shropshire

Mrs Beard said she felt the "knives were out" for her on last night's programme.

She said: "I am very disappointed, I feel like it was a stitch-up on my part.

"We are 12 amateur bakers, there's no prize money, we're not out for any money, why would I sabotage someone's ice cream.

"I was pleased to get through the first week, anything after that was a bonus.

"Iain doesn't hold anything against me, in fact he called me about three days ago to tell me that the knives were out.

"This has made it look like a cut-throat competition."

  • Who's to blame, stroppy Iain or careless Diana? Vote in our poll and have your say in the comment box below.

Despite receiving some back-lash from viewers, tweets of support for Diana have been sent from Bake-off presenters Mel and Sue and judge Paul Hollywood.

Up until Alaska-gate, Mrs Beard said she felt she had been doing well, despite criticism of her tiramisu.

"They said there was too much booze, can you have too much booze?" she laughed. "It would have been wonderful in a bowl.

"They liked my baked Alaska, I thought I was having a good week up until this happened."

Here are some of the reactions on Twitter:

Diana, who is the oldest contestant in the BBC show's history, had earlier impressed judges on dessert week with her "fantastic" orange and lemon curd puddings and tiramisu cake and her "rescued" swan baked Alaska as she made it into the next round.

Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood who said her baked Alaska was "delicious" and "fantastic".

Hollywood said the show's oldest ever contestant always came up to the judging panel with her "head down".

"You should hold your head up," he said. "Like a swan would," added Mary.

Diana said: "I will try to walk tall. I cannot promise but I will try."

Next week the contestants will bake pies and tarts.

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