The BBC have lost the rights to broadcast what is undoubtedly their highest rated show, The Great British Bake Off, it has been confirmed today.
The loss will be a big hit to the BBC, especially with The Voice suffering a similar fate earlier this year, meaning they have lost two of their leading entertainment programs.
To make matters worse for Bake Off fans, it became apparent in the hours after announcement that the BBC had a holdback clause, which means that even if it does find a new home, it cannot be broadcast in the year after it leaves the BBC, meaning that once this series concludes in a few weeks, there won’t be another one until 2018.
The BBC, a public service institution funded by a tax-like fee known as the license fee, has a strict charter and is subject to intense government scrutiny, meaning its ability to splash the cash on externally produced entertainment programming is severely limited. Love Productions, the company who own and created the beloved baking series, issued a statement in which they confirmed that the primary issue in the removal of The BBCs rights to broadcast The Great British Bake Off was money and the development of the brand.
Love Productions have said that the decision to take the show elsewhere is irreversible, with Channel 4 being the likely candidate.
Bake Off, which is now in its seventh series, has went from strength to strength with the BBC, launching with a modest 2 million views in 2010 but becoming the most watched British TV show of 2015, with the Grand Final of the shows 6th series hitting 15.5 million views. The other 9 episodes of the 6th series were also amongst the Top 40 most watched shows of the year, with a further 6 of them in the top 10.
The BBC Press Office released the following statement on Twitter;
Statement on Great British Bake Off: pic.twitter.com/j4D0mMoqmN
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) September 12, 2016
The Great British Bake Off is hosted by comedians Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and judges by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, but it remains to be seen whether all or any will follow the show to its new platform, although negotiations with a commercial broadcaster would mean they could likely demand a significantly higher pay.
The BBC said it hoped Love Productions would change its mind and accept the broadcasters revised offer, so that “Bake Off can stay ad-free on BBC One”. Though a big hit like Bake Off would likely not undergo any major format changes, only the BBC could offer to air it with advertisements.
What do you think? Will Bake Off still remain so beloved if it moves from the BBC?
Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix.