BBC’s chances of holding on to The Great British Bake Off are “wobbly”

Negotiations with the producers Love Productions are said to be reaching a critical stage

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Could the BBC lose The Great British Bake Off?

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Negotiations between the BBC and the producers who make it, Love Productions, over renewing the three-year production deal are “intensifying” and looking potentially “wobbly”, according to sources.

Neither side can yet agree terms for the new series, with Love – which is 70% owned by Sky – reportedly asking for more money for the format from the already cash-strapped BBC.

Some experts estimate that it could be worth £20m to a commercial broadcaster and a source tells RadioTimes.com: “It could be on Sky if they can’t agree a number soon…Love’s other programming deals with the BBC, which include The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down, are also at risk”. 

ITV is also believed to be interested in acquiring the show.

Still, under the current terms, a  commercial rival would have to wait until 2018 to air the eighth series of Bake Off as the BBC apparently has a one-year “cooling-off” clause before it can go anywhere else.

Which is at least an appropriate term for a show about baking…

Concerns about the show’s future were expressed on Sunday night by co-presenter Paul Hollywood who said he did not want Bake Off to leave the BBC.

“I’ve said, I think the girls have said as well, we want to stay with the BBC,” Hollywood told Chris Evans on last night’s Top Gear.  

“As far as Mary, Mel, Sue and myself, we want to stay with the BBC,” Paul added, turning to the crowd to ask: “Don’t you think so? Stays with the BBC?” 

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Series 7 of The Great British Bake Off returns later this year