The Great British Bake Off is BBC's recipe for success as ratings double year-on-year


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The Independent Culture

Our appetite for The Great British Bake Off is bigger than ever, it seems, after last night's series was watched by almost double the audience which greeted the previous series launch.

The BBC2 cookery contest presented by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood drew an average of 5.6 million viewers for the debut of the fourth series.

While the equivalent show in 2012 was watched by three million people.

Last night's episode drew a quarter of the TV audience during its hour-long duration from 8pm, beating long-running hospital drama Holby City on BBC1 and ITV's Lewis which were screened concurrently.

Two weeks ago it was reported that every Bake Off competitor managed to cut themselves when filming the opening episode. A source told The Sun: “It looked more like the set of a horror film than a cosy TV show.”

Among the notable culinary disasters in last night's episode were a chocolate butterfly being dropped on the floor, one bumbling contestant using salt instead of sugar and another who created a cake which looked more like a sandwich.

The Independent's TV critic wrote: "Fans of this show are clearly sadists who take pleasure in watching these lovely people aim for the heavens with their crazy chocolate confections, only to snicker as they fall apart and fail."

"Sadly, I'm as bad as the rest of you and, having been sucked in by Mary's stern stare, I will now be mournfully watching soufflés subside for the next 10 weeks."