Great British Bake Off finalists admit they put on 4st between them

We put on 4st between us scoffing cakes, pies and pastries while filming the Great British Bake Off, confess finalists

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UPDATED:

07:13 GMT, 18 October 2012

If watching the Great British Bake Off had an unhealthy effect on your waistline thanks to all the cakes it inspired you to make, spare a thought for the contestants.

The three finalists have confessed they piled on more than 4st between them during filming, with winner John Whaite releasing a photograph of himself when he was younger – and slimmer – to prove it.

The 23-year-old said he ‘ballooned’ during the competition, putting on a stone-and-a-half because of the cakes, pies and pastries he made and sampled.

Great British Bake Off's John Whaite when he was younger - and slimmer

Great British Bake Off's John Whaite when he was younger – and slimmer

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I put on a stone-and-a-half. I had to exercise it off. If you are going to indulge you have to make sure you work it off.’

The former law student cuts a rather leaner figure in a picture he posted on Twitter. He captioned the image, which shows him topless save for a bow tie: ‘Seeing this old pic makes me regret my 5th mille feuille of today!’

Fellow finalist James Morton, from Shetland, admitted he had put on 2st, while Brendan Lynch said he had gained 10lbs over the two months of filming.

And then there were those watching at home, many of whom complained that they couldn’t get through the show without eating something sweet.

Mr Whaite emerged as the surprise champion in the all-male final, winning over the judges with his lavish and elaborate Heaven and Hell cake, which they described as ‘beautiful’ and ‘perfect’.

He graduated from Manchester University with a first in July, and has just started a job in banking. But he told the Mail: ‘It’s a good job but I am definitely still looking at becoming a patissier full-time, going to London or Paris, perhaps to the Escoffier cookery school.

John Whaite, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2012, shown here in the final episode

John Whaite, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2012, shown here in the final episode

John Whaite, 23, who has been crowned the winner of the Great British Bake Off

John Whaite, 23, who has been crowned the winner of the Great British Bake Off

Fellow finalist James Morton, from Shetland, admitted he had put on 2st, while Brendan Lynch said he had gained 10lbs over the two months of filming

Fellow finalist James Morton, from Shetland, admitted he had put on 2st, while Brendan Lynch said he had gained 10lbs over the two months of filming

‘I was stunned when I won. We all didn’t expect to win. There isn’t any prize money but I think that’s a good thing because for us [the contestants] it’s about our passion, it’s not about entering competition to make money.

‘My mum is really, really proud of me. She doesn’t care what I do for a living – she just wanted me to finish my law degree. It’s been a great year.’

John, who lives with his graphic designer boyfriend, Paul, added: ‘I bake every day. I get up at about 6am and bake bread or scones and at night I’ll bake a cake. I make lots of steam puddings. I’ve been baking since I was five. It was a family thing.

The Great British Bake Off, with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

The Great British Bake Off, with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

‘Me and my mum used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking fairy cakes and crispy cakes. I find it really comforting – it’s my comfort blanket.

‘I have loads of friends who come round and eat what I bake, though I do eat a lot of what I bake myself.

‘Today I’ve made some of my lemon madeleines and tonight I’m probably going to make a chocolate fondant cake. I’ve got a tiny little kitchen but as long as you’ve got an oven and a whisk you can bake anything you like’

This series of the BBC2 show has been the most popular yet, with a record peak audience of 6.7million and an average of 6.1million tuning in to watch Tuesday night’s final.

It beat shows on all the other main channels including Holby City on BBC1, which peaked at 5.1million. Insiders said such high ratings meant the it was already being considered for a move to the main channel.

A BBC source said: ‘Viewing figures of six and seven million mean a move to the flagship channel has to be looked at.

‘The figures for the final are higher than the recent series of Doctor Who – even Karen Gillan’s exit only pulled in 5.9million.’