Don’t turn Great British Bake Off into X Factor

BBC1 bosses should stick with the recipe that made the cookery show work on BBC2, says Mark Jefferies

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The news that over nine million people tuned in to watch the Great British Bake Off final will be music to BBC bosses’ ears. And in particular Charlotte Moore, the BBC1 controller, who has pinched the show from BBC2, starting next year. 

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She used to be in charge of Bake Off in her old BBC documentaries job, and wants a slice of that big audience to help her overnight viewing figures, though it is a BBC2 show at heart if you ask me.

I hope I am wrong, but as a big fan of Bake Off I really fear it could be overcooked for the cameras in 2014 when it starts on BBC1.

This year we saw some fans complain about an increase in tears on screen with the emotional side ramped up.

The show needs drama but is supposed to be a light and easy watch so any X Factor style dramatic music or voting off twists must be avoided.

Any attempt to try a live episode for BBC1 would also be a mistake. When we saw one at the Edinburgh TV Festival this year, it became clear why the cooking bit needs to be edited – waiting for bread to bake is actually a bit dull.

My worry stems from when that other BBC cookery competition MasterChef was moved from BBC2 to BBC1.

It was shoved around the schedules as they screened extra series and spin-offs.

The celeb version moved from BBC1 to BBC2 and even spent one series in a daytime slot, where it attracted audiences of less than a million. Now it is back on BBC1.

So not all moves are smooth and, if anything, Bake Off is a more gentle show than MasterChef.

Like the cake creations it showcases, it needs care and attention when it comes to the details. Nothing on the show is broke, so BBC1 please don’t try to fix it.

Otherwise a Bake Off backlash starts here.

Mark Jefferies is Deputy Showbiz and TV editor at the Daily Mirror


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