Great British Bake Off fans were less than impressed by Tuesday night's episode, which saw Paul Hollywood break his golden judging rule to send home last week's star baker Stacey Hart. Paul was saw telling fellow judge Prue Leith and hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig that the competition was so close that they needed to consider bakes produced on previous weeks while making their decision – something he has said he will never do. He then sent home Stacey, a decision which caused yet more controversy with fans, who pointed out that being named star baker just seven days ago was surely a good reason to keep her in.
Great British Bake Off's Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig
Stacey didn't have an easy weekend in the tent, but seemed to be in with a chance when Steven Carter-Bailey's show-stopping meringue started to melt and collapse before it got to the judging table. Viewers were torn over who should go, before Paul admitted that he and Prue had taken into consideration bakes from the whole series. "Initially we have to have a look at this weekend and if that still has not drawn any obvious answer, it is so close, then yes you look back retrospectively on the while series. It has only happened a couple of times," he said.
Stacey Hart became the ninth contestant to leave the baking competition
Viewers quickly took to Twitter to discuss the decision, with one writing: "Paul, if you look back on the weeks of this year's bake off then all you will see is how wrong you were in your previous decisions." Another wrote: "I agree Steven should be in the final, but changing the rules to keep him in because he had a bad week isn't right." A third lamented the loss of former contestant Liam, who was eliminated last week: "Why didn't they judge previous weeks last week & save Liam? #fix #gbbo… Steven deserved to go this week!"
Speaking about her time in the competition, 42-year-old Stacey said: "So close. I am pleased that I have gone out on a high, it was a really, really difficult decision for them. I can go back to being a good mum, so it's ok. I could have waited another week, but it's fine, it's fine."
The 2017 Bake Off finalists: Kate, Lyon, Steven Carter-Bailey and Sophie Faldo
"It was a mixture of emotions for me. I felt I had done so well to get so close to the final, but also sort of relieved that I would be leaving the tension of the competition. At the beginning of the episode I said that if this is the end of the road for me, then I am leaving happy."
The Great British Bake Off final will air on 31 October at 8pm.