The BBC has denied it is launching its new cookery show The Big Family Cooking Showdown to compete with Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off.
The new BBC2 cookery show, which features former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, TV presenter Zoe Ball and chefs Giorgio Locatelli and Rosemary Shrager, was announced after the Bake Off was poached by Channel 4.
However, BBC2’s new controller Parick Holland has insisted the timing was coincidental, as the show had been commissioned before Bake Off moved to the rival channel.
Speaking following the announcement of BBC2′s spring/summer schedule, he told the Press Association: “You can’t commission shows thinking, ‘Oh that’s going to be a massive hit’.
“It was commissioned before Bake Off went to Channel 4. It was one of the first things I did.”
The Big Family Cooking Showdown will see 16 families from around the UK compete to prove they are the nation’s best family of cooks.
Over on Channel 4, former BBC1 series The Great British Bake Off will launch with a new line-up featuring Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig. In fact, it’s possible the two programmes will go head to head.
“Scheduling decisions are made closer to the time. Bake Off is not part of my thinking or the scheduling team’s thinking,” Holland said.
“You want to play something to get the best audience. There’s no sense of one particular show dominating our thinking.
“It’s amazing if anything becomes a big hit. But programmes grow. You don’t commission programmes thinking they’re going to be a big hit. The reason why you commission a show like that is because it was a great idea.”