The Great British Bake Off final on Channel 4 attracted an average audience of 6.9 million viewers, the broadcaster said.
Viewers tuned in on Tuesday night to watch Giuseppe Dell’Anno crowned winner of the 12th series of the amateur baking show.
The 45-year-old chief engineer from Bristol became the first Italian to take home the top prize, exclaiming: “There are no words, I am speechless for once.”
Channel 4 said the final had a peak audience of eight million viewers and a 37.2% share of the total TV viewing audience.
I could have never gone through this exhilarating, but also draining adventure without the support of my wife, my fellow bakers and the constant support of the production team!Thank you all out there, for reaching out and showering me with love! I will be forever grateful!#GBBO pic.twitter.com/tVfzNNHH4R
— Giuseppe Dell’Anno (@giuseppecooks) November 23, 2021
Last year saw Bake Off enjoy its most watched final on Channel 4, attracting a record average audience of 9.2 million viewers, although viewing figures generally rose during lockdown.
In comparison, the 2019 final was watched by an average of 6.9 million.
Speaking the morning after his win, Dell’Anno said his performance on the show had prompted an emotional response from his usually stoic father.
He told Times Radio: “There is a message that some family friends collected without me knowing, that was shown to me while we were recording, that you have seen yesterday during the show, from my dad.
“That is not like him. My dad is very much the strong and silent (type), the archetypal Italian father. He doesn’t speak much.
“So the fact itself that he got himself to say those lovely things for the camera means that it must have had an effect on him.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 23, 2021
“He’s always been talking in a way – in inverted commas – to my sister and myself through his bakes. And I’ve only realised later in life that that was his way of showing us his love and affection.”
Dell’Anno took the crown despite coming last in the final technical challenge of the series and oven issues in the showstopper.
Both Dame Prue Leith and fellow judge Paul Hollywood said the final was the closest yet – each contestant having received two coveted “Hollywood handshakes” and two star baker awards during the series.
The episode saw the trio tasked with making exquisite carrot cakes, Belgian buns, and a showstopper dessert inspired by the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice In Wonderland.
Dell’Anno gambled with his carrot cake by baking one large sponge and a special “family jam” of figs and walnuts.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 24, 2021
He was also placed last in the technical challenge after “massively” overbaking his Belgian buns, despite their neatness.
Dell’Anno said he had shouted at the screen while watching the final air on TV.
“That tent plays tricks on your head,” he said.
“The stress obviously does. I was shouting at myself at the screen last night: ‘Take those buns out!’
“I don’t know why I kept them in so long in the oven. I have got no idea what was going through my head.
“The funny thing (is) I had a message from a Belgian friend of mine this morning saying, ‘You know the buns should be golden not brown?’ I think I have learned the lesson the hardest way.”