It's the final of Great British Bake Off! Tension, excitement and intense pressure are very much the order of the day. Amongst the madness, Ian's managed to find a moment for a little quiet reflection. "I wrote in my journal", he begins, "'This could be a pivotal moment in my life.'" You can keep your X Factor, to hell with The Voice, this is our Great British Bake Off and what we want in the final is a contemplative diarist, and that's what we've got.
The last ever signature challenge is two batches of eight filled iced buns. Tamal's going for one lot of cinnamon and apple, and another lot of toffee and marmalade, but he also seems fairly preoccupied with knocking all his equipment off his workstation and onto the floor. Strong tactic from the nation's favourite trainee anaesthetist.
What Tamal isn't doing, however, is flavouring either his enriched dough or his icing, which puts him at odds to both Ian and Nadiya. Ian's making eight spiced buns, and eight elderflower and lemon buns, the inspiration for which came from smelling elderflower whilst out cycling. In case you're wondering, yes, Ian does apparently live in an English period drama. Nadiya's rustling up eight cardamom and almond buns and eight sour jam buns which, controversially, are round, rather than the traditional finger shape. This seems to give Paul Hollywood some consternation, as he bemoans the lack of "rip" in Nadiya's bake.
Tamal's crème pâtissière steadfastly refuses to set, and he ends up abandoning it altogether. As the man himself says, his crème pâtissière "is quite a big element of those crème pât ones." You can't argue with that logic. Despite that, his "marmalade butty" (Paul's words) has great flavour, and his cinnamon and apple bakes make the judges happy too, despite a misstep with the icing.
Ian's elderflower and lemon buns hit the right notes, but he forgot to add sugar to his spiced dough, and the overall taste suffers as a result. Despite Paul's reservations, Nadiya looks to have got it right with both batches of buns, yet she remains plagued with self-doubt.
For the technical challenge, our final trio have to make half a dozen raspberry millefeuille. For those of you without a rudimentary understanding of the beautiful language of French, 'millefeuille' roughtly translates as, "Bloody hell, these are fiddly; why didn't I just buy them from Morissons?"
Straight away, Nadiya's cottoned on to the judges' fiendish plan, and realised that this challenge has been specifically tailored to them, as they've all struggled with pastry over the course of the series. She seems clever at that point, but less so later in the challenge, as she looks blankly at the instructions ahead of measuring her puff pastry sheets. "I can't even do Key Stage 1 maths!" she wails, and the other two bakers are too stressed to even react.
When it comes to the judging, Tamal's pastry is flaking apart, caused by him ignoring the instructions to grate the butter (which seems reasonable - who grates butter?!) and rolling it out instead. Ian's rough puff pastry is a little raw in the middle, but it's enough to take second place, just behind Nadiya who, primary school curriculum crisis aside, has pulled it together. It's quite a turnaround. Week 1 saw Nadiya come twelfth out of twelve in the technical challenge - a walnut cake - and she's just won the technical challenge in the final.
Going into the final day, you can't help but wonder which near-impossible feat the judges are going to set these fine amateurs. When it's revealed, however, it's a single-flavour traditional British cake. Admittedly it needs to be at least three tiers, but still, you'd expect them to have to make it underwater or cook it with a soldering iron or something.
Nadiya tells a story of her wedding in Bangladesh not having a cake, so she's decided to make one now. It's a lemon drizzle cake covered with fondant icing and with each tier sporting a sari. Tamal's taken a sticky toffee pudding and made it into a cake, and has decided to create a scene based on an abandoned Chinese fishing village he once saw. Ian, in true Ian style, is making five tiers of his carrot cake and, in a moment of peak Ian, has brought his own homemade metal display stand.
Tamal seems to spend most of the four hour challenge making spun sugar with the enthusiasm of someone who's just discovered it. In the end though, his final cake is an eye-popping display with a giant caramel spider web in the middle. The bake and the fruit distribution are even, and M-Bez seems overcome with just how delicious it is.
Nadiya had a mini spirit level to make sure her cakes were perfectly flat and it looks to have paid off, as the flavour is consistent throughout every layer, and her cakes are pronounced to have a great texture.
Despite confusion over how to calculate how much mixture goes in how much tin (you can clearly see 'πr2' written on his recipe), Ian completes the set and makes sure it's perfect showstoppers for all three contestants. In fact, Paul proclaims it to be, "One of the best carrot cakes I've ever had".
All three look to have pulled it out of the bag when it really mattered, but there can only be one winner. Who is going to claim the most sought-after tent-based accolade in television?
Innuendo of the week: We couldn't have such an uncouth feature on this grand occasion. Oh, alright then. MC MezzaBezza wistfully sighing, "A lovely, soft, beautifully textured bun" whilst gazing into the middle distance takes the cake this week.
And the winner is... NADIYA! She had a flawless final weekend and, to the obvious delight of her friends and family in attendance, she takes the crown, and she's truly a worthy winner. And not only that, she's invited Tamal round her house for tea as well.
That's the end of the series. It's been an exciting ten weeks with thirty brilliant challenges, and we'll all have a void in our lives come next Wednesday. Roll on the next series!