Peter Sawkins may have just been revealed as the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off, but he’s not letting himself get carried away.
The 20-year-old from Edinburgh, who made history as the show’s youngest-ever Bake Off winner and the first Scottish baker to hold the title, is also studying accounting and finance, and told the Sky News Backstage podcast that he’s not thinking much beyond his next deadline.
“Next up for me is an assignment due in on Friday and then a couple of exams starting in two weeks’ time,” Sawkins said.
“So, once I can clear my head a little bit, I really ought to crack down and start studying.”
A firm favourite for many from the beginning of the series, Sawkins was awarded the coveted Star Baker title in week one, but said it wasn’t until much later that he started thinking about winning.
“I did try to take it week by week as the process went on, and I think that really did help with staying calm in the tent,” he explained.
“But once we got past the quarterfinals where I had a real struggle with the jelly cake, I really did start thinking about the final – and when you think about the final, you think about the potential of winning it!”
Production for this year’s series of the Channel 4 show was hit by the pandemic, and the solution was for all the contestants, judges, presenters and crew to form a big bubble – meaning they stayed away from their friends and family throughout filming.
Sawkins explained in the final episode that it was the longest he’d ever been away from home, but he told Backstage that it wasn’t a struggle.
“I really did have the best time, it was like we were away on the most bizarre holiday summer camp ever and it was just so much fun,” he said.
“All the people in the bubble were amazing, they had great energy, which you could just feed off, the spirits were always kept really, really high, even though a lot of people had, you know, sacrificed a lot to come – they’d left family at home, they’d left a lot behind.
“But they kept the energy so high, it was so much fun, and I can’t say thanks enough to everyone that made it such a good experience.”
The series has provided bumper ratings for Channel 4, and the final was the highest-rated show on the channel since 2002.
An average audience of 9.2 million people tuned in to see Sawkins triumph over his fellow finalists Laura Adlington and Dave Friday.
He describes being recognised by fans as an “interesting experience”.
“It happens, you know, a couple of times every day, but it’s always been really lovely and people have been very supportive when they come up and said hi to me, so I do appreciate that,” Sawkins said.
“I think lockdown has probably changed the way that people interact like that, which has probably made it a little bit easier than it may have been, but so far, everyone that said hi has been lovely.
“And, you know, if they’re saying hi, they’re a fan of the show, and it’s been lovely to share the experience with these new people that I’ve never met before.”
Hear the interview on this week’s episode of Backstage podcast.