In Brief

Diana Beard: I quit Bake Off 'due to illness'

Great British Bake Off contestant Diana Beard says BBC editing 'deliberately misled' viewers

Diana Beard, the Great British Bake Off contestant at the centre of the "Bingate" controversy has slammed the "misleading" editing of the programme and insisted she left the show due to illness.

Beard tells The Guardian that she withdrew because she lost her sense of taste and smell after fainting in a restaurant. "It's an absolute bummer," she said. "My neurologist says it may never come back."

The 70-year-old was at the centre of a row about a baked Alaska that shook the usually tranquil series this week. Viewers had accused her off sabotage after she appeared to remove fellow contestant Iain Watters' dessert from the freezer.

Watters stormed off set when his baked Alaska melted and collapsed, pausing only to tip the drooping dessert into the bin. When he was eliminated from the competition, Beard faced the wrath of viewers who blamed her for his departure.

The BBC received over 550 complaints over the incident, which is the biggest to hit Bake Off since last year's 'Custardgate' drama, when a contestant admitted accidentally taking another's custard to use in a trifle.However, Beard insists Watters' dessert was out of the freezer for "a very small amount of time" and blamed the BBC's editing of the episode for her villainous status.

"Why it was edited in such a way I don't know," she tells The Guardian. "I was there to be shot at. It was sad to end my time at Bake Off in such a way."

In the Daily Mail, she keeps up her criticism of the programme-makers. "They deliberately misled viewers and exploited me for the sake of entertainment," she said "The BBC should be ashamed."

The BBC has since appeared to confirm Beard's version of events. "Due to the extreme temperature in the tent that day, many of the bakers struggled to get their ice cream to set as seen in the episode," it said in a statement.

"Diana removing Iain's ice cream from the freezer for less than a minute was in no way responsible for Iain's departure."

Watters has since tweeted that he has "no hard feelings" about the incident and said that "all us tent bakers are great pals".

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