The Great British Bake Off will be leaving the BBC after seven series with the Corporation, the makers of the show Love Productions have announced.
An unexpected ratings success for the BBC, The Great British Bake Off began on BBC2 in 2010 before being moved to BBC1 for its fifth series onwards in 2014. Hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, with judging courtesy of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, the show quickly became one of the Corporations hottest properties. Series seven launched at the end of August 2016 with more than ten million viewers for the first episode.
A BBC spokesperson confirmed the news of Bake Off’s move in a statement suggesting that money played a factor in the decision:
“Working with Love Productions, we have grown and nurtured the programme over seven series and created the huge hit it is today. We made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money. The BBC’s resources are not infinite. GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme. We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC1.”
In a statement reported in the Telegraph, Love Productions said of the move: “After an extraordinary six-year journey with the BBC, Love Productions announces with regret that it has been unable to reach agreement on terms to renew the commission of The Great British Bake Off.
“We will now be focusing on finding a new partner to develop the familiar show that the British public turn to in their millions. Love Productions would like to thank the BBC for the role it played in making this show such an enormous hit, and the faith they showed in us over the years to develop it.”
It is unclear what the future of the show is, but it is understood that ITV are the hot favourites to snap up the programme. However, when Paul Hollywood was asked in July to comment on the rumours that ITV were interested in Bake Off, he said that he, Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc would prefer the show to remain on 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 Top Gear. “As far as Mary, Mel, Sue and myself, we want to stay with the BBC.”
However, negotiations between producers Love Productions and the BBC have been fraught ahead of this year’s series. In June, a source told RadioTimes.com that talks over renewing the three-year deal were “wobbly”, adding, “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”.
Love Productions is 70-per-cent owned by Sky, after the broadcaster acquired a majority stake in the production company in July 2014.
In August, ITV sources hinted that head of studios Kevin Lygo believed that the format could work on another channel, and that the broadcaster was keen to snap up the rights.