Lord Sugar: Bake Off’s move to Channel 4 will be “a total disaster”

The Apprentice star is not happy with "greedy production companies" selling BBC shows to commercial rivals and says Bake Off's viewing figures are set to plummet dramatically at Channel 4

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Lord Sugar has a very clear view on the fate of The Great British Bake Off when it makes its controversial move from the BBC to Channel 4: “I think it’s going to a be a total disaster.”

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Speaking in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, The Apprentice star is equally outspoken regarding what he sees as the financial motives behind the “greedy production companies” that sell BBC formats to the highest bidder, adding “I don’t find that morally correct”.

“I think [the BBC] are getting a raw deal these days,” says Lord Sugar, whose own BBC show returns for a new series next week. “I mean, because they make something successful like Bake Off or The Voice then suddenly a commercial channel comes along and just goes and buys it off them, and greedy production companies sell it to them. I don’t find that morally correct.”

“Think about their personal credibility as the production company, if this thing bombs on Channel 4. I mean, the difference between 15 million viewers, right, which Bake Off got, to possibly settling down to about three million on Channel 4, surely that’s got to mean something to them, hasn’t it? It’s not always the money, you know.”

When he’s asked about the possibility of following The Apprentice should it switch sides, Lord Sugar unsurprisingly agrees with Bake Off judge Mary Berry – “My loyalty is with the BBC”. And in any case, he’s pretty convinced it wouldn’t be the same show without him. 

“I don’t wish to sound too much of a big head, but the rights owner would need to run it past me first of all, because they’d need to sound out whether I’d go with it, and then would be told no… I wouldn’t do it.”

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Read Lord Sugar’s equally forthright views about Brexit, Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and more in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday