Oxfordshire circus performer Chris Willoughby missed out on being named MasterChef Champion 2024 in a close final.

In the end it was veterinary surgeon Brin Pirathapan who clinched the title, beating farmer Louise Lyons Macleod and Mr Willoughby in the climax of the BBC One series on Wednesday.

Chris, 44, who lives in Henley-On-Thames and was born in Chipping Norton, has been part of cabaret, circus and theatre communities for years and a member of the cast at The Box Soho since 2011.

He based his final menu on circus acts.

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Tasting "The Tightrope Walker" - sea urchin chawanmushi - judge John Torode said: "Texture, flavour and sensation - you've delivered it."

Oxford Mail: l - r Chris, Louise, Abi and Brin

Chris, who lives with his long term partner and interior designer, Kim, that food has always been a big part of his life as his job has allowed him to travel, meaning he has been able to sample dishes from across the world.

His passion for food was heightened even more when Covid hit and lockdown meant that he wasn't able to work.

He entered MasterChef to challenge himself and his cooking ability.

He said: “I have always loved the series and the competition. I felt my cooking had gotten to a good level and I was ready to be tested and learn new things along the way.

"I’m always striving for the next new thing.

"Being able to achieve new things has always given me the passion to keep growing."

Shortly before announcing the winner, Mr Torode told the finalists: “Twenty years we’ve been doing MasterChef. That is the best final we’ve ever done.”

Oxford Mail: Veterinary surgeon Brin Pirathapan has been crowned MasterChef Champion 2024

Ms Macleod looked up with tears in her eyes and Mr Willoughby looked downcast as the judges announced that Mr Pirathapan had won the 20th series with dishes that included octopus and venison.

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“No way,” he said in disbelief, as his fellow contestants rushed to hug him.

He said: “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits. I can’t breathe. I’m a big mix of my background, my culture and all the opportunities my parents have given me.

“They’ve been incredible and I’ve done it for them as much as I’ve done it for myself.

"The experience itself has been incredible and to top it off with this is just the most amazing thing, ever.”

Reflecting on his time in the competition, Mr Willoughby said: "I do believe you have to take risks in life to achieve something."