The irony of The Great British Bake Off moving to Channel 4 hasn’t been lost on Charlie Brooker, who has had his own struggles with the broadcaster after his series Black Mirror moved to Netflix.
The streaming service ordered six new episodes of the techno-fear drama series after it secured a deal with Brooker and production company Endemol Shine last year, to the frustration of Channel 4.
Earlier this year, Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt said that “Black Mirror couldn’t be a more Channel 4 show”. Now, Hunt herself is facing pressure after striking a deal to take Bake Off – seen by fans as very much a BBC show – from BBC1 to Channel 4.
Brooker said at the London Film Festival that it was “odd” watching the baking drama play out, to say the least.
“It’s quite interesting,” he said. “Somebody didn’t wave a cheque and we ran away from Channel 4 towards it, put it that way.
“We still talk to Channel 4, we haven’t broken off friends with them,” he added. “But that seemed particularly odd what happened there with the Bake Off.”
“If you told me at the start of the year that by October half our cultural icons would be dead, we’d have voted to leave the EU, and Donald Trump would be hovering near the White House… oh and the Bake Off wouldn’t even be on BBC1 anymore? I’d have been digging a f***ing bunker.”
‘Black Mirror has been waiting for a service like Netflix’
As for his own series, Brooker said that Black Mirror series three is ideally suited to the streaming service.
“I think that anthology shows like this have been waiting for a platform like Netflix or streaming services in general to come along,” he said.
“We don’t have cliffhangers, we don’t have recurring cast members or characters; really, shows that reinvent themselves every week have struggled in the ratings. And ratings were the king for years.
“The only other way to drum up support for your show would be to run lots of trails, which risk blowing the story. On Netflix we can put the whole thing up and it’s like a short story collection, or an album, or tickets to a film festival, or some other wanky allegory I can come up with.”
The new series will stream all at once on Netflix from 21st October, and Brooker had a warning for anyone wanting to dive straight in.
“Overall across the season we’ve got more variety of tone,” he said. “Because we’re doing six stories, we wanted to not always fling you into a fit of despair. Sometimes we’d kick a few f***ing hope biscuits at you on your way down. Having said that, there are stories where we do fling you into a pit of despair and then piss on you.”
We can’t wait.