Will the Great British Bake Off fall flat with Channel 4?

The recent upheaval of the ‘quintessentially British’ TV show has received an equally quintessentially British reaction. Twitter has gone mad; people are outraged.

Starting with its move from the BBC to Channel 4, fans of the Great British Bake Off received their second slice of bad news when Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins announced that they wouldn’t be ‘going with the dough’. And when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Mary Berry also waved goodbye to Bake Off and said farewell to soggy bottoms.

Audiences loved them together, and will no-doubt continue to love them, but whether or not viewers continue to watch the programme with Paul Hollywood at the helm or not comes down to brand loyalty. The Great British Bake Off is a much loved brand with a celebrated format that people clearly enjoy, but the appeal of Mary and Paul makes them brands themselves, and the same can be said of Mel and Sue.

So with rumours circling of Mary, Mel and Sue hosting a show to rival the GBBO on the BBC, will audiences remain loyal to the show itself, or to the stars that made it so enjoyable?

Since the Great British Bake Off lit up our screens in 2010, it has become an undoubted success, quickly becoming one of the most popular shows on BBC One, but when it came to making an offer to keep one of the nation’s favourite TV shows, the BBC fell short of the asking price. £10 million short to be exact. The corporation is said to have offered £15 million per year to Love Production, the makers of the GBBO, but lost out to a bid from Channel 4, who secured a three year deal for £75 million.

While some people are wondering, with the exception of Paul Hollywood and a tent, whether Channel 4 got its money’s worth, I am left wondering whether the show will fall flat without its essential ingredients, and do the stars really make the show?

We have, sadly, seen this happen before. There are some who have commented that the Great British Bake Off has ‘done a Top Gear’.

You may recall that all three hugely popular presenters parted company with the BBC after a fracas between Jeremy Clarkson and a producer last year. The show took on a few new faces, including Chris Evans, and lost millions of viewers; it’s just not the same. Of course Clarkson, Hammond and May have moved on to join forces with Amazon Prime, and their new show ‘The Grand Tour’ is more than likely to have a huge following of loyal troublesome-trio fans when it launches in November.

A time will come when Bake Off fans will have to make a decision. So, the question here is, has the GBBO gathered a loyal enough following for audiences to change the channel? Or will viewers switch off, stick it out and wait for this rumoured new show?

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

Kirsty Hall
Account Executive