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BBC accused of stitching up Great British Bake off contestant Diana Beard

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

BBC accused of stitching up Great British Bake off contestant Diana Beard

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The BBC is at the centre of fake-storm after a contestant on the Great British Bake

Off accused TV bosses of "a stitch up" to make it look like she sabotaged a rival baker.

Millions of viewers watched as contestant Iain Watters hurled his baked Alaska cake in the bin after it melted in soaring temperatures.

Moments earlier, Diana Beard appeared to remove his creation from one of the freezers leaving it out in the 25C (77F) heat and replace it with her own.

The 69-year-old grandmother was then shown to gasp at the camera as Iain stormed out of the tent in disgust.

He was later booted off the show by judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood after plonking the metal pedal bin containing his wrecked ice-cream cake at their feet.

Baking legend Mary, 79, told the bearded Irish contestant his behaviour had been "unacceptable".

But minutes after the show finished on Wednesday night, Diana faced an angry backlash on social media from fans who accused her of underhand tactics – dubbing the row "Freezergate".

Mother-of-two Diana, from Whitchurch, Shrops., tearfully claimed the producers had made her a scapegoat.

She sobbed: "It was a complete stitch-up and I feel very hurt and let down. It was all completely untrue.

"We are just 12 normal people who are into baking and they deliberately misled viewers and exploited me for the sake of entertainment.

"The cake was out of the freezer for 40 seconds and I was asking who it belonged to. Then Iain walked over and took it away. It happened as simply as that.

"It was utter chaos in there. We were all struggling a bit. We were allocating our freezer space, which you saw. Iain didn't blame me at all. He does not hold me responsible.

"Iain doesn't hold anything against me, in fact he called me about three days ago to tell me that the knives were out. He tried to stop it going out, he was also very angry too.

"We were in it in the fun and to show of our baking skills – it’s so far from the truth, we helped each other.

"Somebody is culpable for the editing, how they can get away with exploiting normal everyday people for the purposes of entertainment is beyond me.

"You would expect that from some TV production companies and channels - but not the BBC.

"They have lost their integrity and I've been stitched up really haven't I?

"It's supposed to be a cookery show - people don't go on it for the fame or prize money, contestants don't get any monetary reward anyway.

"But we're being treated like publicity hungry attention-seekers on other reality shows who crave this sort of drama.

"I was very disappointed and upset by how they cleverly edited the show and a result I have people saying all sorts of nasty things about me.

"It's a form of fakery and trickery and it's not fair on the fee-paying viewers who have been made to believe I would do this sort of thing on purpose.

"I haven't a malicious bone in my body - why would I sabotage someone's ice cream?

"I was pleased to get through the first week, anything after that was a bonus. But I sort of regret it now.

"Hopefully somewhere down the line, I won't. But at the moment I feel very disappointed at how we've been treated.

"They have made it look like a cut-throat competition but we all got on fine in there. The BBC should be ashamed."

In an attempt to cool the row, presenter Sue Perkins took to Twitter to jump to Diana’s defence.

She tweeted: "Iain's Alaska was out of the freezer for 40 secs. That's it. No sabotage. 40 secs of normal temp would NOT be enough to reduce it to liquid.

"I can't actually believe I'm wading into this... (And wading is the operative word...) Big love to @iain_watters anyhow. What a gent x"

Paul Hollywood added: "I'm glad Mary's not on twitter this would upset her. #enoughnow"

One fan was so upset by the incident they went onto the Great British Bake Off's page on Wikipedia and changed the description next to Diana's name.

What read as 'Women's Institute' previously was changed to: "Women's Institute (WI)/Ice-cream melting supervillian/Trampler of ice dreams".

Fellow contestant Jordan Cox, 33, who was eliminated from the competition last week, also criticised the show, accusing the freezers of "not being up to the task."

The BBC yesterday (Thur) denied deliberately misleading viewers in the Great British Bake Off but confirmed they had received 556 complaints.

A spokeswoman said: "As shown in the episode, Iain became the fourth baker to leave the tent because he didn't present Mary and Paul with anything to judge in the showstopper challenge and both judges were very clear about the reasoning behind the decision.

"Due to the extreme temperature in the tent that day, many of the bakers struggled to get their ice cream to set as seen in the episode.

"Diana removing Iain's ice cream from the freezer for less than a minute was in no way responsible for Iain's departure."

Diana lives with husband Malcolm, 71, in a #170,000 cottage in the picturesque village of Alkington, near Whitchurch, Shrops.

Husband Malcolm said: "Diana is overwhelmed by the story and frankly wants the whole thing to blow over."

Neighbours also rallied round to support her. One, who did not want to be named, said:

"Diana is the least likely person to sabotage someone else’s cake.

"It's appalling the BBC have portrayed her as some kind of villain of the piece.

"It makes you wonder if the show is so boring this year that the producers are having to come up with new ways to create a bit of tension and controversy."

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