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Published October 27th 2016

The Social Data Review of Great British Bake Off 2016

The Brandwatch React team looks at the data behind the judges, contestants, cakes and pastries throughout this season of the Great British Bake Off.

The celebration of niceness and comfort eating is back.

For one hour a week for the next eleven Wednesdays the UK will be offered a brief respite from Brexit drama and political turmoil, with all eyes on risk-taking baked goods and Mary Berry’s death stare.

This year we’re collecting all the social data on the incredibly popular BBC show Great British Bake Off (or #GBBO).

You can read about the show here or skip to an episode for a closer look at the data behind the contestants, judges and presenters.

A recipe for success

If you’re not familiar with the show, referred to as the “Great British Baking Show” in the US, it’s an intense experience involving a group of incredibly polite people sweating over fancy looking baked goods while the eerily icy eyes of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry judge their technical skills without mercy.

Comic relief is provided by comedy duo Mel and Sue, topped up by Mary Berry’s famous euphemisms and fondness for the term “soggy bottom”.

The final of last year’s contest saw 13 million people tune in as Nadiya Hussain clinched the prize and made everyone cry happy tears.

As the show enters its seventh season, we can’t wait to see what baking drama unfolds.

Skip to an episode

Episode 1 (Cake week)

Episode 2 (Biscuit week)

Episode 3 (Bread week)

Episode 4 (Batter week)

Episode 5 (Pastry week)

Episode 6 (Botanical week)

Episode 7 (Dessert week)

Episode 8 (Tudor week)

Episode 9 (Patisserie week)

Episode 10 (The Final)

Season round-up

Episode 1

Everyone was excited for the new season of Bake Off to begin. Especially Mary Berry.

In fact, mentions peaked at the beginning of the show as thousands of excited tweets welcomed the start of the episode. The hour-long show got 139k mentions across social media as it aired.

This week was ‘cake week’ and fresh-faced contestants were put through their paces with Jaffa cakes and génoise sponge. While Jaffa Cakes were huge in the conversation as some contestants began to make them upside down, it was Paul and Mary who got the most spikes.


Mary’s excitement at Tom’s gin and tonic drizzle cake was a notable highlight.

Turning our attention to the contestants, it was Selasi who took the most mentions with 26% of the contestant related conversation, though Val (who peaked early) was close behind with 25%.

GBBO EP 1 contestants

Jane, Lee, Val and Selasi got fairly big peaks towards the end. We won’t explain why, but not everyone was happy with the choice of star baker and the person chosen to leave.

The judges were on fire this episode, out-shining Mel and Sue on the mentions front.

GBBO EP 1 judges

Mary won top spot this week, potentially because of her amazing facial expressions.

Episode 2

This week was biscuit week and competition was tough. We tracked 83k mentions of the show throughout the hour-long episode, finding the top moments for online audiences occurring towards the end.


Though there was a lot of conversation surrounding crumbling gingerbread towers and biscuits dropped on the floor, three notable quotes saw mentions leap towards the end of the episode.

While Paul Hollywood’s “tasty sister” comment was commendable, Mary Berry stole the title of top mentioned presenter/judge once again.

GBBO EP 2 judges

Many took to Twitter to say they missed Sue who was absent from this episode.

Contestant-wise, it was once again Selasi and Val who were the top mentioned bakers.

GBBO EP 2 bakers

Biscuit week was a week to remember.

Episode 3

Bake Off was back again, this time with Bread Week and we’re not talking your average bland loaf.

It wasn’t the highest mentioned episode, with just 65,230 mentions over the hour it aired, but it was definitely one to watch.

The bakers were set to work on some intense challenges that saw one of the most exciting episodes for peaks in conversation yet.


“It’s not a mess, it’s informal” became a motto for anyone trying to pull their life together at the moment.

Meanwhile, a “very male shaped” bake and a “no one likes a small, under-filled ball” pleased the ravenous innuendo hunters on social.

Taking a look at the overall conversation, Bread Week was mentioned a lot, but Val was the centre of attention.


Val, a former head teacher from Somerset, has generated a loyal following on social media who are fast to celebrate her wins and offer pep talks when she’s in a spot of bother.

In fact, Val has consistently been the top mentioned baker throughout the season so far.



Episode 4

It was battle of the batters this week on Bake Off as bakers took on Yorkshire puddings, lacy pancakes and churros.


But it wasn’t just the bakes that were stirring the drama pot. Social was still reeling from the shock news that Bake Off will be moving to Channel 4 (away from BBC). It made up a significant chunk of the GBBO conversation during the episode despite it not being mentioned on the show.


It has also been revealed that much-loved presenters Mel and Sue will be leaving the show as it changes channel. Some were so incensed by the news that they turned to baking to complain.

It’s unclear at the time of writing whether Paul and Mary will remain on the show, a fact that some find hilarious.

Getting back to the actual contestants, we were getting a bit worried about Val’s monopoly on mentions over recent weeks. Luckily, this week saw Selasi take over as the top-mentioned baker. It might have something to do with the revelation during the episode that he has a girlfriend (the UK is heartbroken).


This episode saw Benjamina get some well-deserved attention on social, having been one of the least mentioned bakers so far in the series.

Tune in next week for some crumbly pastry data.

Episode 5

SPOILER ALERT. Sorry, we’re not going to be able to avoid it this time.

Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to know who goes home.

Firstly, lets talk numbers. Pastry week saw 57k mentions across the hour, with a lot of them coming in towards the end of the show. There was a big finish.


We’ve talked a lot this series about one baker in particular. She’s commanded a loyal online following of tweeters who’ve sent her messages of encouragement throughout. She’s also been a great provider of innuendo throughout the series.

Sadly it is this week, with an unprecedented reaction to someone going home, that we say goodbye to Val.


Here are some of the heartfelt tributes to Val’s Bake Off journey.

#TeamVal is not happy.

But wait.

There’s more drama. The day after Episode 5 aired it was announced that Mary Berry will be quitting Bake Off after this series (following Mel and Sue, see Episode 4) as the show moves to Channel Four. Channel Four now literally have a tent and Paul Hollywood for their millions.

Should Mary have gone too? We’ll never know.

Episode 6

*Spoiler alert*

Episode six was oddly named “Botanical week” in which there were tears, floral shirts and incredibly colorful cake.

With only 43k mentions today’s show wasn’t exactly the most hard-hitting episode of the series, but there were a few moments that ignited interest on social.

The top three involved the internet accusing Selasi and Benjamina of some major flirting, an outpouring of love for Selasi’s epic show-stopper cake and adorable tears from Andrew as Rav was sent home.


If you hadn’t guessed yet, Selasi was the top mentioned baker this week. Candice also did fairly well with a mention spike near the beginning of the episode as commenters wondered why she hadn’t chosen to wear her signature bright lipstick.

Usually we don’t include ex-contestants in our baker mention calculations, but this week saw Val (who left in a whirlwind of distraught tweets last week) make up 8% of the conversation – more than three of the remaining bakers. Typical Val.


Moving on to the judges, it was Paul who got most mentions this week – mainly because of his lack of floral shirt.


With Rav getting the boot there are only six contestants remaining. What drama awaits in episode 7? We can’t wait to find out…

Episode 7

Dessert week promised a whole lot of sugary goodness and it was definitely delivered.

Despite the sugar high, mentions weren’t exactly soaring. It wasn’t til the final moments of the show that they saw any significant rise as the star baker and person leaving were announced. All in all, with just 37k mentions, it was hardly a show-stopping episode.


The person probably providing the most comic relief this week was Mary Berry, who publicly admitted to her fondance for a “tipple”.


Looking just at the bakers it was Selasi who topped the chart for mention volumes despite a fairly average performance overall. The main reason for his boost in mentions was his obvious stress during the episode, something that he’s been great at hiding throughout the season so far.



We’re now down to the final five and with just a few episodes remaining the losses are only going to be felt deeper and deeper…

Episode 8

The quarter-final was “Tudor week” and there was no shortage of innuendo. The episode saw 40k mentions (an improvement on last week)

The episode saw 40k mentions (an improvement on last week) and had major mention spikes towards the end as the winner and person going home were announced. With only five people left this episode numbers are dwindling and losses are felt hard. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, brace yourself for tears.


Mary Berry got the biggest innuendo related spike of all the presenters and judges when it was advised she wouldn’t want to see any cracks. Meanwhile, Paul Hollywood’s squeezing was also a big moment.


Despite not being in first or last place this week it was again Selasi who was the top mentioned baker. He’s an absolute star on social.


Next week is the semi-final and we’ll be watching the data carefully to see who becomes social’s favorite to win.

Episode 9


Yesterday’s edition of GBBO saw four contestants become three.

The world’s avid baking fans tuned in to watch the contestants take on one of the toughest challenges. Patisseries.

What did they think? We’ve looked at Twitter, Facebook and 80 million other sites to find out.


With almost 50k mentions, this week’s show was one of the most talked about in the series. But why?


The king of silky, soft tones, caused huge engagement online with 67% of conversation mentioning him.

That’s the largest amount of conversation we’ve recorded for one baker the series!

But, the self-proclaimed baking athlete came up short this week, under-baking his technical challenge.

Several thousand viewers used their social accounts to declare their love for the semi-finalist.

Despite the heartbreak, Mel and Sue eased the pain, displaying their usual comedic brilliance. Of the two presenters, Sue received the most mentions, with 2,800 comments made about her this week.


The show really won’t be the same without those two. Richard Ayoade of IT crowd fame was apparently being ‘lined up’ to take over as the presenter, but fans don’t seem to keen. Only 4% of mentions about the rumor were positive.

With just one episode of GBBO remaining, these are sad times for all GBBO fans. The enjoyable Wednesday nights spent watching some of our favorite TV personalities may well be over.

Nevertheless, we’ll be here to document your feelings and show the nation how the fans really feel.

Follow @BW_React next week for our coverage of the final.

Episode 10 (Final)

And so we face the final show-stopper with the BBC.

With over 60k mentions registered over the course of the hour-long episode, this was without doubt the second best performer on social (coming just behind the first episode).

The episode featured two handshakes in a row from Paul Hollywood (which sent Twitter into a frenzy) and three bakers pushed to the limit. It was anything but a picnic.


All day tweeters had been speculating about who would win the tight competition. Despite Jane’s consistent record in the tent she was least favorite on Twitter.

Instead it was Andrew and Candice who stood neck-and-neck when it came to who people thought would take the Bake Off crown.


After an intense episode, it was social’s favorite Candice who was announced the winner, gaining her 1,250 tweets in a single minute.


It’s been one crazy season…

Season 7 round-up

As you may have read, season 7 was the final one to appear on BBC (with the next season coming to Channel 4 with a whole new set of presenters, other than Paul Hollywood).

It’s been a dramatic time, with presenters and judges Mel, Sue and Mary announcing they wouldn’t be in the Channel 4 iteration of the show half way through this season.

Overall, we tracked over 2 million Bake Off related tweets over the whole season.


It wasn’t just dramatic because of the changing channel, however.

Social quickly became attached to the bakers on the series and they definitely had a favorite in the form of ex-head teacher Val.


Until next season, keep baking!

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? We have plenty more. Email us [email protected] for more information

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