Over 10 million people tuned in to watch Co Down man Andrew Smyth exercise his usual engineering precision to earn a place in the final of the Great British Bake Off.
Andrew, an aerospace engineer who designs jet engines for Rolls Royce in his day job, earned the title of star baker in the TV show’s semi-final on Wednesday night.
He made it through to the final after a shaky start in the patisserie-themed episode but, after shelving his initial attempt at a pastry for being too dry, he started again from scratch to earn high praise from judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
The 25-year-old will take on Bedfordshire schoolteacher Candice Brown and Jane Beedle, a garden designer from London, in next week’s winner-takes-all Bake Off final.
Andrew’s parents Nigel and Kay Smyth told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme that his success in the high-pressure baking competition is down to his “determination”.
Mrs Smyth said: “He’s the same person on television that we see at home. I don’t think it’s worth your while in Northern Ireland getting airs and graces, it’s not the way people are here”.
Mr Smyth added: “I think we’re all taking a bit of credit, we certainly gave him a lot of encouragement as a family. He’s been away from home now for seven years, so a lot of the credit has to go to himself. It goes down to a lot of determination and creativity.”