Following a letter in the 1 September issue of Radio Times magazine, the BBC has admitted that The Great British Bake Off’s relationship with Smeg fridges is in breach of editorial guidelines.
Love Productions, the company that makes the popular amateur cooking contest for BBC2, has for the past two series been loaned a number of fridges by Smeg – whose logo then appeared, according to RT reader Andrew Smith from Manchester, 37 times in one recent episode.
The BBC said Love’s arrangement with Smeg did not meet editorial guidelines and was being revised, with proper hire payments now to be made.
BBC guidelines forbid the acceptance of free or reduced-cost products in exchange for credits, links or marketing, on- or off-air.
The Great British Bake Off’s position was made worse by a page on Smeg’s website, which also came to light when it was quoted by Mr Smith in his letter to Radio Times. It boasted that the company had “once again teamed up with the show to supply six iconic… fridge-freezers”. This will now be removed.
Responding to the letter, executive producer Emma Willis said: “All items on set are there for function and clear design purposes only, and no agreements are made with any suppliers that they will appear on screen.
“We weren’t aware of the references on the Smeg website and certainly hadn’t given our blessing.”
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We are working with Love Productions to put in place additional measures to ensure that sourcing and supply of equipment is clear in relation to our guidelines and a consistent approach is adopted in future.”
In his prize-winning letter, Mr Smith had described The Great British Bake Off as “a tasty confection, but served up on a bed of crushed compliance and finely diced guidelines”.