Shows that switched sides: what can Bake Off learn from these TV winners and losers?

As The Great British Bake Off prepares to move from BBC1 to Channel 4, we assess some of the successes and failures from TV history


As The Great British Bake Off moves from the BBC to Channel 4, which shows have made a success of a channel switch? And who has died a death on a new channel? We take a look at what Love Productions could learn from TV history…


Success stories


(from BBC to Channel 4)

When the BBC lost the rights to show home test matches on television to Channel 4 in 1998 after 60 years of showing cricket, many fans thought it was the end of days.

However, Channel 4’s innovative coverage, which introduced new technology and gave bigger personalities to the presenters and pundits, became a big hit with viewers until the rights moved to Sky after a famous Ashes series in 2005. 

Jonathan Ross

(from BBC to ITV)

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross ran on BBC1 for nine years between 2001 and 2010, regularly attracting more than five million viewers for the irreverent mix of comedy, music and chat.  Ross joined ITV as the host of the suspiciously familiar Jonathan Ross Show in September 2011, and although ratings have not always been at the dizzy heights of the BBC days, he has continued to attract big name guests and keep a high profile.

Birds of a Feather

(from BBC to ITV)

The Chigwell-based class comedy was one of the BBC’s biggest sitcoms, running between 1989 and 1998 on BBC1 before it was finally put to bed by the Corporation. ITV decided to bring back the show with its original cast of Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph in January 2015, attracting eight million viewers for its opening outing. It has since commissioned a further three series and several specials. 

Could have gone better…

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley from The One Show to Daybreak

(BBC to ITV) 

Chiles and Bleakley’s on-screen chemistry helped to make BBC1’s teatime magazine programme The One Show a huge hit between 2007 and 2010, so it’s no surprise that ITV looked to poach the pair when they needed a couple to front their GMTV replacement, Daybreak. And so in 2010 Chiles and Bleakley left for ITV’s sparkly breakfast show. But it was to be no fairytale at the commercial broadcaster, with Daybreak struggling to rival BBC Breakfast in the ratings and Chiles and Bleakley leaving the show after only 15 months.

Match of the Day becomes the Premiership

(BBC to ITV)

The BBC’s football highlights show has been a mainstay of Saturday night television since the 1960s, so imagine the uproar when ITV won the rights to a highlights show in 2001.

The Premiership was hosted by former BBC man Des Lynam, but was broadcast at 7pm on Saturday, rather than the much later Match of the Day broadcast time. The show was quickly criticised for its early run time and for far too much analysis rather than football highlights. The result was poor ratings that got worse. Even ITV moving the show to 10.30pm couldn’t save it, and in 2004 Match of the Day returned on the BBC for a new era.

Morecambe and Wise

(BBC to ITV) 


Generally accepted as one of the best double acts in the history of comedy, Morecambe and Wise were on a tremendous roll for most of the 1970s, producing some of the best-loved sketches and shows on British television – not to mention pulling in stupendous ratings for their Christmas specials on BBC1. However, a move to Thames television in 1978 is widely regarded as a mistake as the new shows were shorter, had ad breaks which interrupted the pair’s flow… and are seen by many as just not being as consistently funny.