Great British Bake Off to move to Channel 4

BBC loses rights to the UK's most-watched programme of 2015 with the corporation saying its 'resources are not infinite'

Harry Cockburn
Monday 12 September 2016 19:53
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Paul, Sue, Mel and Mary with the latest batch of ‘Bake Off’ contestants
Paul, Sue, Mel and Mary with the latest batch of ‘Bake Off’ contestants

The Great British Bake Off is to move to Channel 4 after the BBC lost the rights to the programme, with the corporation saying its resources were not "infinite".

Channel 4 confirmed its acquisition of the hit cooking show, shortly after the BBC announced it had lost the rights.

A last-ditch meeting on Monday was not enough to save the BBC's partnership with the production company, Love Productions, which cited concerns over the BBC's valuation of the show as well as the development of the brand.

In a statement, Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 will become the new home of the Great British Bake Off after signing a new three-year agreement with the producers of the hit show, Love Productions.

“Under the new creative partnership the multi-award winning show will remain on free-to-air television.

“The first Bake Off programming planned to broadcast on Channel 4 will be a celebrity version of the show in 2017, in aid of Stand Up to Cancer.”

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said: “Channel 4 is very proud to be the new home for The Great British Bake Off. I’m delighted we have been able to partner with the hugely talented team at Love Productions to keep this much loved show on free-to-air television.”

And Richard Mc Kerrow, Love Productions' creative director, said: “We believe we’ve found the perfect new home for Bake Off.

"It’s a public service free-to-air broadcaster for whom Love Productions have produced high-quality and highly successful programmes for more than a decade.

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“It’s tremendously exciting to have found a broadcaster who we know will protect and nurture The Great British Bake Off for many years to come.”

Announcing its departure from the BBC in an email to staff, Love Productions said “exhaustive negotiations” had not been enough to keep the programme on BBC One.

“We are really saddened by this outcome because we always wanted to stay on the BBC,” the email said.

“As recently as June we were convinced that was what would happen. This has never been about who might write the biggest cheque, but about where we can find the best home for Bake Off.”

The BBC urged Love Productions to think again.

“Working with Love Productions, we have grown and nurtured the programme over seven series and created the huge hit it is today," a spokesperson said.

“We made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money.

“The BBC's resources are not infinite. GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme. We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC One.”

The baking show was the most-watched programme of 2015, with 15.1 million people watching Nadiya Hussain claim victory in the sixth series.

Love Productions said the BBC had upped its offer to them ahead of the meeting on Monday, but it was still rejected.

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