Channel 4 has rubbished claims that The Great British Bake Off 2017 has been 'fixed' for Steven Carter-Bailey following a row over judge Paul Hollywood's handshakes.
Earlier this week The Daily Star ran a story suggesting Bake Off bosses are 'eager to portray' Steven as their best contestant.
It was based on quotes from fellow contender Sophie Faldo, who revealed that Steven didn't bag the first 'Hollywood handshake' of the series, as it appeared in the first episode.
Sophie said she was in fact the first recipient of Paul's trademark gesture, which he gives to bakers when they present a particularly impressive dish.
"I got the first Hollywood handshake on the show," she told the Radio Times.
"On TV it was edited so it looked like Steven got the first one, but it was actually me."
Channel 4 has since responded to the controversy, admitting to Digital Spy that the handshakes were edited out of sequence.
However, the broadcaster insisted there was no foul play, explaining that producers grouped several bakes containing apple together so they'd be easier for viewers to compare.
"In episode one, the judging of the bakes using apple as the primary ingredient were seen on-screen back-to-back so that the audience could compare the bakes and the judges' comments," a spokesperson said.
Steven is regarded as the favourite to win the current series, having been awarded the 'Star Baker' title three times by Paul and co-judge Prue Leith.
Sophie has been named Star Baker twice, while rival finalist Kate Lyon earned the accolade once.
Bake Off's eighth series concludes on Tuesday at 8.00pm on Channel 4, when Kate, Sophie and Steven will go head-to-head to be crowned champion.