It is a fate that has befallen many successful series, including Who Do You Think You Are?, The Apprentice and Have I Got News for You. And now BBC2 bosses are resigned to losing The Great British Bake Off to BBC1 for the next series, RadioTimes.com understands.
BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow admitted at this year’s Edinburgh Festival that BBC1 executives have long been after her smash hit which has been beating the big sister channel in the ratings.
“If you have a programme with 7 million it’s not going to be unnoticed, is it?,” Hadlow said.
“If you’re running a channel like BBC2 you have to take it in your stride – we’ve nurtured this programme, we love it. Big successful programmes – who knows? It’s happened to things like Who Do You Think You Are?. We’ve seen programmes move in other moments.
“We love it, it’s a great series but in the end if that does happen, you have to think ‘bigger BBC’.”
Now, RadioTimes.com understands that for next year’s run Hadlow won’t have much chance of resisting the BBC1 poachers.
“Bake Off is getting nigh on six million for the first stages of a contest series, which is unprecedented,” commented a BBC source. “As with onetime BBC2 show Who Do You Think You Are? once you get those kind of figures you kind of become a BBC1 show whether you like it or not”.
A BBC spokeswoman declined to comment on the claims. “The series has only just started on BBC2 and beyond that it’s too early to say,” she said.
The new fourth series of Bake Off kicked off two weeks ago with around 6 million viewers, the highest ever audience for an opening show of the series, and continued its run of form last week, outgunning BBC1’s long-running medical drama Holby City.
The Great British Bake Off continues tonight at 8pm on BBC2