Communications watchdog Ofcom could launch an investigation into The Great British Bake Off’s “bin-cident” row after viewers complained about the alleged sabotage of contestant Iain Watters’ Baked Alaska.
The 31-year-old bearded baker lost his cool when his pudding melted after rival contestant Diana Beard took it out of the freezer – leading Mr Watters to throw it in the bin.
The controversy whipped up anger among viewers who accused Mrs Beard, 69, of sabotaging the pudding, and she quit the show due to ill health just after the episode was filmed.
A baker’s dozen – 13 – viewers have complained to Ofcom with 12 of them concerned at the apparent sabotage of Mr Watters’ dessert, and 811 have complained directly to the BBC.
Their complaints are being assessed while Ofcom decides whether to investigate.
Mr Watters was voted off the show after presenting judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with a bin when they asked to see his dessert, and his departure sparked a Twitter campaign with the hashtags BringIainBack and justiceforiain, calling for him to make a return.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight programme, when asked if he would be making a comeback, he teased viewers by saying: “You will have to watch next week.”
He added that he had spoken to Mrs Beard since and had no hard feelings.
He said: “I knew it was going to be quite a big thing as it was a big thing that happened on the show. The reaction has been crazy, there were a lot of comments on Twitter. It’s been really nice support and really built up overnight.
“I was more frustrated and it was just the heat of the moment. In the last half-hour of the show it got very tense.
“I’ve spoken to (Diana) and she’s fine.”
Yesterday judge Hollywood responded to the Twitter storm by saying: “Ice cream being left out of fridge last night for 40 seconds did not destroy Iain’s chances in the bake off, what did was his decision BIN.”
Mrs Beard revealed she left the show just before filming began on episode five after a freak fall severed her olfactory nerve, robbing her of her sense of smell.
After she complained that the show had been edited to make it look as though she sabotaged her rival’s chances, the BBC then announced that Mrs Beard would not be appearing in episode five, explaining that she “fell ill” ahead of filming.
But she has since clarified that she “fainted” and banged her head during supper with the other contestants just before production of the episode was due to start.
Mrs Beard, who lives near Whitchurch, Shropshire, said: “I fainted – which I have never done – and bashed my head, severing my olfactory nerve.
“So I have now lost my sense of smell and most of my taste.”
She added that she has some sensation of foods which are very salty or vinegary, but has been told by a specialist that nothing medically can be done to repair the damage and she may never fully recover her senses.
“It could have been worse, and I am counting my blessings,” said Mrs Beard, who used to run an upholstery business.
She said the announcement that she would not be returning for episode five had been brought forward by the BBC following the furore in which some members of the public branded her “evil”.
“At least people will know I haven’t wimped out,” she said.
“It’s a relief, as people now know the truth.”
The programme was filmed in the spring.