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News / James’ baking boosts Fair Isle sales

James Morton.

SALES of Fair Isle sleeveless jumpers have shot up since Hillswick medical student James Morton became a star of the TV screen, according to local shops.

On Tuesday night six million viewers are expected to tune in to see if the 21 year old wins the final of the popular BBC2 programme The Great British Bake Off, where he competes against two other men.

The surprise TV hit has turned young Morton into something of a celebrity with almost 30,000 Twitter followers @bakingjames.

Much comment has been made of his collection of Fair Isle jumpers, which have made an impact on sales locally.

A spokeswoman for Lerwick knitwear suppliers Jamiesons said that sales of tank tops had gone up substantially.

“Tank tops were not very popular before the show and sales have gone up a lot,” she said.

Nearby store The Spiders Web acknowledged they had been receiving a lot of enquiries about sleeveless Fair Isle jumpers, which they had not been able to satisfy.

“We are selling all the knitwear that we can provide and we have been doing for some time,” Barbara Mitchell at the shop said.

“But lately I have had a lot of people coming in for tank tops, right enough.”

Tuesday’s final is the culmination of the series which began in August. Morton said he was persuaded by friends to take part and has been sworn to secrecy as to the outcome, which was filmed while he was in the middle of college exams.

His final bake – a notoriously difficult chiffon cake with no butter – involves a timely political statement considering it was filmed months ago, as it reflects the young man’s political views on the Scottish independence referendum declared just this week.

All he will reveal beforehand is that it includes a lot of flags from around the UK, but dominated by the Union Jack.

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Morton is up against 63 year old Brendan Lynch and 23 year old John Thwaite, with judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood making the final decision.

Speaking on BBC Radio Shetland, he said: “The Great British Bake Off has been the most interesting and amazing experience of my short life and tonight you can look forward to something that is truly exciting, nail biting, and also quite nice.”

The show begins at 8pm.

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