Peak of 5.4 million tune in to watch delayed MasterChef final

Lizzie Edmonds
·3-min read
<p>Tom Rhodes</p> (PA)

Tom Rhodes

(PA)

A peak of 5.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the delayed MasterChef final on BBC One.

The average audience share was 4.6 million — or 23.81 per cent of the audience share, the BBc and Overnights.tv confirmed.

The broadcast of the final was postponed from Friday night at 8pm following the death of Prince Philip.

Last night, it was finally revealed the 2021 MasterChef champion was Tom Rhodes.

The 31-year-old Nando’s front of house restaurant manager became the 17th winner of the programme after seeing off competition from Mike Tomkins and Alexina Anatole in the final.

Speaking about his victory, he said winning MasterChef was a “dream come true”.

Fans of the show were expecting to tune in on Friday, April 9 at 8.30 pm - but the BBC suspended all planned scheduling to honour the Prince’s life.

Hundreds of thousands of people reportedly complained to the BBC about the move and the wall-to-wall coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.

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A statement from the broadcaster on Friday afternoon said: "With the sad news that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, has died, there is now special coverage across all BBC networks to mark his life of extraordinary public service and planned scheduling has been suspended.”

And the official MasterChef account later posted: "Following today’s sad news about HRH Prince Philip, tonight’s scheduled #MasterChefUK Final has been postponed."

Rhodes took to social media to celebrate his win last night.

“An incredible end to the absolute experience of a lifetime! I’ve got so much more to say but I’m going to leave that till tomorrow and let it all sink in for now.

“For now I’ll just say thank you to everyone that made the show possible, and thank you to everyone who followed along, supported me and the other contestants and sent the most wonderful and kind messages.”

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The final challenges in the competition saw Rhodes cook a five-course lunch for hospitality sector workers at Plaisterers’ Hall in the City of London and at restaurant Le Gavroche, where he worked with chef Michel Roux Jr.

Rhodes said he was “really shocked” at how much he had improved over the course of the competition, adding that lockdown “gave people a lot more time” to prepare for the show.

He added that he is feeling “very hopeful” about the future of hospitality despite the problems caused by the pandemic, saying he thinks the sector will “bounce back”.

“I know certainly myself I can’t wait to get back to restaurants with friends and family and I think a lot of people feel like that,” he said.

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“I think it’s something people have really missed.

“I think people have got an even greater appreciation of things like eating out than they ever have before.”

The chef said he was looking forward to seeing what opportunities came from being on the show.

He said: “I entered last year because with lockdown it kind of really put into perspective and allowed me some time to think what I really wanted to do.

“Having been so interested in food for so many years and feeling ready to enter the competition, it felt like the right time, and now that I have won it I really can’t wait to see what’s next.

“I entered the competition really wanting to write about food and to share my love of food with people, but having also had the experience in the professional kitchens on the show, I certainly wouldn’t rule out having a restaurant now as well, but I think there’s a little bit more work that needs to be done before that dream is made a reality.

“Now that I have won the competition, I need to seize this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to what happens next.”

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