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Great British Bake Off 2015 - Week Seven

17/09/2015 09:35 BST | Updated 16/09/2016 10:12 BST

Mel and Sue's rendition of English Country Garden heralds Bake Off's first ever Victorian-themed week. The first challenge is making a raised game pie, and Paul and Tamal waste no time in getting their comedy duo routine underway. Straight man Paul remarks how, at this stage in the competition, it's crucial not to make any mistakes. Tamal then kindly puts away Paul's set-up by promptly smashing an egg on the floor. There should be some kind of swanee whistle sound effect at this point. Seriously, what do we pay our licence fee for?

Flora, who, lest we forget, once got confused because there wasn't an Aga in the tent, continues to keep it real by casually mentioning that one of the first things she ever cooked was pheasant, in a school competition. I don't know about you, but I think the most difficult thing I tackled in food technology at school was a flapjack. Flora's making a pheasant and pigeon pie, and stuffs her pastry shell with so much filling that, despite the prolonged cooking time, it's still touch and go whether the meat will be raw or not.

Ian drops the revelation that he's a big fan of sourcing and cooking roadkill, and his grin that had always previously seemed fairly innocuous, now takes on an unsettling, murderous quality. He's using a homemade, bird-shaped pastry tin (of course he is) to house his venison, partridge and guinea fowl creation. No such pretension for Mat, however, who proudly states that his authentic Victorian pie tin is "my mate Dangerous Dave's Mum's". No word on what makes Dave so dangerous, but we'll bring you more when we get it.

Tamal is making a Middle Eastern-inspired rabbit, pigeon and venison pie, and shows the judges the spices that will be incorporated. I'm no gourmand, but I've heard of the ras-el-hanout spice blend, which is more than can be said for MezzaBezza, who eyes Tamal's jar of powder suspiciously. However, he judges it perfectly, and earns a Hollywood handshake for his troubles.

Come the technical challenge, our baking half dozen are tasked with making a tennis cake. It looks like a reasonably simple fruit cake with some icing, but of course there are potential pitfalls everywhere. The cake itself requires two hours of cooking, which helpfully isn't mentioned in the recipe. Furthermore, the bakers must make sugar paste from scratch in order to construct an entire tennis court atop the cake.

Mat looks concerned his royal icing isn't the same consistency as everyone else's, and he's right to be - by the time it comes to rolling out pristine grass, it's in such a bad state it looks like a tennis court that's been used to hold a monster truck rally. He also attempts to dry his icing racquets and net in the oven, giving them a nice, light brown tinge that really completes the look.

Unsurprisingly, Mat comes bottom of the technical challenge, just ahead of Ian. Paul's acquitted himself fairly well and claims second, but top of the tree is Nadiya, who earlier in the challenge reveals she'd actually made sugar paste the day before for a different recipe. You know, as you do.

The final challenge lasts five and a half hours and requires the contestants to make a charlotte russe. For the uninitiated, it's a case of sponge ladyfingers filled with Bavarois cream and jelly. It's gelatine city in the tent, as both the cream and the jelly have to be set to perfection.

Dreamboat Tamal (SWOOOOOOOOOON!) decides to forego a sponge base and, unlike everyone else, puts jelly at the bottom of his cake. Paul spends an inordinate amount of time carving animals out of fruit (his apple swan is either genius or the work of a deranged madman) and seems not to realise his jelly hasn't set in the slightest. Mat's jelly hasn't set either, and he also loses marks for his sponge case cracking thanks to him piping the fingers too close to one another.

Ian, after a fairly indifferent first couple of challenges, is really upping the ante, decoration-wise, and is making a crown to top his Queen Victoria-themed russe. By the time the crown neatly slides onto his rhubarb and ginger flavoured cake, there's a ripple of applause from the occupants of the tent. Everyone looks impressed at the display of royal pageantry - it's a good job Jeremy Corbyn isn't there.

Whilst no-one has gone quite as outré as Ian with the decorations, everyone's still making the most of the time available to perfect the presentation. Everyone, that is, except Mat, who sits calmly drinking a cup of tea and picking at his leftover ingredients while the others sweat over the intricacies of their showstoppers. Will Mat, last week's star baker, come to regret his laid-back approach?

Innuendo of the week: "There's a little bit of action in the front there". It looks like Mary Berry's watching a very different show to the rest of us.

Star baker: To the delight of the nation's women - and many men - doctor Tamal picks up the gong for three very solid rounds.

Going home: Mat was just never at the races this week, and is sent back to his fire station. He also reveals he's intending to start charging people for his bakes, which sounds like a decent money-making venture.

Next week: It looks like the return of pastry!