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Former Bake Off semi-finalist triumphs in Christmas special

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (Channel 4)
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (Channel 4)

Briony Williams has been crowned star baker in The Great Christmas Bake Off.

The 2018 semi-finalist beat fellow returning contestants Terry Hartill, Tom Hetherington and Chuen-Yan “Yan” Tsou to take the title in the festive-themed Channel 4 show.

Clutching the coveted Bake Off trophy after being named the winner, she said: “This is amazing. I will treasure this always.”

“This is the best Christmas present ever in the world,” she added.

Briony Williams
Briony Williams (Channel 4)

Williams triumphed despite not impressing judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith with all of her creations.

Her 24 cake pops – which saw her recreate the judges in gingerbread – earned her plaudits in the signature bake, with Hollywood deeming them “fun”.

But Leith said Williams’s sausage roll wreath in the technical challenge was “stodgy”, and she came last in that round.

She redeemed herself in the showstopper when the bakers were tasked with creating a 3D gingerbread building.

The final round tested their nerves as most of the contestants were plagued by wobbling structures.

Yan created her own house but when Hollywood noted that it was a bit “messy”, she joked: “Unfortunately since we last spoke it has been condemned.”

Hetherington turned the air blue as he struggled to perfect his Edinburgh Christmas building.

But despite his worries, Hollywood said it tasted “rich and velvety”.

Hartill had the judges in stitches with his replica of the Chrysler Building, as it featured two Father Christmas puppets resembling Hollywood and Leith, which rocked back and forth.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in the tent before,” laughed Hollywood.

Williams outdid herself with a stunning Santa train based on one she and her family travel on in the Peak District at Christmas.

It was nestled inside a station covered with chocolate marzipan roof tiles and surrounded by marshmallow trees.

“Briony, I must say it looks really neat, I love the icing,” said Leith.

Hollywood agreed: “I think you’ve done a great job, it’s very festive and the taste of your gingerbread is delicious.”

The Great Christmas Bake Off contestants
The Great Christmas Bake Off contestants (Channel 4)

After hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig declared Williams the winner, Hollywood said it was her showstopper that had wowed them.

“Her flavours were good, the design was good, she blew it away,” he said.

Leith said Williams was a “very worthy winner” but added that she would like all the bakers to get a prize.

The show returns on New Year’s Day when some of the stars of Derry Girls will tackle a series of bakes in the tent.

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