'The Great British Bake Off' series seven comes to an end tonight – and it's going to be a bittersweet send-off. Because, now that Love Productions have ditched the Beeb and headed over to Channel 4, it's the last final that will air on BBC1. It's also the last final that will feature Mary Berry, Mel and Sue, after they decided not to follow 'the dough'.
For 'Bake Off' fans (and aren't we all) it's the end of an amazing era. An era in which a sweet, unassuming programme quietly became a huge hit and ended up dominating our Wednesday evenings for two and a half months each year. 'Bake Off' on the BBC hasn't been about sensationalist storylines or sob stories, it's been about the best of British. We've had Bingate, the great custard sabotage of 2013 and a squirrel whose incredibly large nuts made him an overnight viral hit. Plus hard-working, diverse and lovely bakers who aren't afraid to shed a few tears over their soggy bottoms. We don't know what season eight will look like yet, but we can be sure that 'Bake Off' will never be the same again.
BUT, you can dry those tears and stop shovelling comfort food into your cake hole (only if you want to, that is) because tonight's 'Bake Off' final isn't actually the last we'll see of GBBO on the BBC.
Sure, this is the last time one of Britain's best amateur bakers will be crowned the winner by Paul and Mary, as their family and friends crowd around during the best picnic there ever was. But there are still two more instalments of BBC 'Bake Off' as we know and love it.
'The Great British Bake Off' will be on BBC1 this Christmas for two yuletide specials, featuring Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, Mel and Sue. The episodes were filmed before Channel 4 bought the format, the production team tells us.
The final instalments will even 'welcome back bakers from past series' to 'don their Christmas jumpers and aprons to tackle three festive challenges.' Four former stars will return to the tent to battle it out to be crowned the winner of 'The Great Christmas Bake Off'.
What a Christmas present – and what a way to say goodbye to the reign of 'Bake Off' on the BBC.
'The Great British Bake Off' concludes tonight at 8pm on BBC1.
More entertainment news:
✚ Selasi from 'The Great British Bake Off' is going to open a bakery in west London
✚ Mary Berry has quit 'Bake Off' – who on earth could replace the queen of cakes?
✚ Has the BBC just commissioned the new 'Bake Off'?