57-year-old truck driver Phil broke the mould with his beautiful bakes and delicate decoration. He shared some thoughts from his time in the tent:
‘Being on The Great British Bake Off is like being on the biggest rollercoaster ever – you have your highs and you certainly have your lows, and I did in Dairy Week. I was apprehensive about Dairy Week as I don’t really bake a lot of [dairy] so I was out of my baking comfort zone from the beginning. At the end, even Norman the Gnome from my garden couldn’t save me in my showstopper, but he did get a bit of screentime. My ‘Trucking Lovely Rose Cake’ in the signature represented my career at the wheel. I am a bit of a King of the Road at work, but the roses showed that I can keep in touch with my feminine side. The trucking community have embraced me being on the show, I take them bakes for breakfast which they regularly hoover up.
‘Once I got the phone call to say I was in, I was absolutely ecstatic, four years of trying and finally it came through. It’s been an ambition of mine to get in since the show started, and I have been trying to keep improving my baking prowess. Making the rocket cake in Week One did cause a bit of a stir on social media, but I put that down to filthy minds, I was innocently making a rocket nose cone and I wanted to perfect it, without any innuendo!
‘I was the oldest baker in the tent so although there was pressure there, I was more laid back than the younger ones. I kept my head down and just cracked on. Everyone in the show is absolutely amazing and totally supportive, the production team help you so much and really couldn’t do anything more for you. There is a friendly voice anytime day or night on the phone if you needed to talk to anyone.
‘I have been watching the series with just the family and neighbours, and for the first episode I made a raspberry and apple pie and had nibbles and drinks. The neighbours have been my guinea pigs throughout all the practice bakes, although they didn’t know it. They did give good feedback but didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. My family are over the moon with the series, they have all loved it, and it’s been a brilliant experience for all of us to enjoy together. I don’t know what will happen to me in the baking world, although I would love to do something more.’
Catch Phil on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice with Jo Brand on Friday 20th September at 8pm on Channel 4.