DfE civil servant among Great British Bake Off contestants

Sheffield based official one of 12 contestants in high-profile show


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By Richard Johnstone

29 Aug 2018

Channel 4 screengrab

Luke Thompson, a civil servant at the Department for Education who also works as a house music DJ, is among the contestants in this year’s Great British Bake Off television programme.

The 30-year-old Sheffield based civil servant yesterday made it through the first of 10 episodes of the show, with the contestant deemed weakest by judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood leaving after each weekly show.

In the programme broadcast on Channel 4, he described making it onto the show as “like being a footballer and playing at Wembley in the FA Cup final”.


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His biography on the Great British Bake Off website says he has been baking since he was 10 years old and some of Luke’s earliest memories are standing on a mini step ladder so that he could reach the worktop to help his nan bake.

It adds that he has a “minimal and clutter-free attitude to life is reflected in the things he creates – his bakes are clean and precise”.

Prior to being announced on the show, he said that his civil service colleagues were unaware he had applied. “People at work will have no idea,” he said. “I sit at my desk and sometimes overhear colleagues talking about Bake Off, so it will be strange walking into the office when everyone finds out.”

In the first episode, which involved three challenges to bake biscuits, he made a Yorkshire ginger nut described by Leith as looking like a proper ginger nut, while in the second challenge to make wagon wheels he scored 8th of 12 competitors. In the final showstopper round, he made a cinnamon and orange biscuit themed on Las Vegas inspired by a trip with friends, which Hollywood said worked well, but which Leith said was underbaked.

Thompson is the second civil servant to feature in a major reality television programme this summer.

Zara McDermott, who is also a civil servant at the Department for Education, starred in the ITV2 series Love Island in June while on a 12-month career break from her role as a post-16 education policy advisor. Last month she said she would “love to” return to work in government.

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