The Great British Bake Off looks set to return to television in its new home on Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesday 29th August, setting up a direct head-to-head with The Big Family Cooking Showdown on BBC2.
Channel 4 appear to be confident that Bake Off – which in its BBC incarnation was the most-watched show on TV in 2016 attracting more than 15m viewers – will still have all the right ingredients to see off BBC2’s new cookery show fronted by former GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain and Zoe Ball. Initial exchanges between broadcasters, which are finally confirmed at 2.30pm today, show the programmes directly up against each other.
The Bake Off, which began life on BBC2 in 2010 before moving to BBC1 in 2014, became front page news in September last year when it was announced Love Productions had agreed a three-year deal for the format with Channel 4 reportedly worth £75m. Shortly afterwards, judge Mary Berry and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins announced they would be leaving the show.
After much speculation, Channel 4 announced in March that Prue Leith would join returning judge Paul Hollywood on GBBO alongside new judging pairing Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding.
Despite BBC bosses insisting The Big Family Cooking Showdown was commissioned before Bake Off went to Channel 4 and that it’s not intended as a rival show, the programmes certainly have a similar subject and feel and with former Bake Off winner Nadiya fronting the BBC show, comparisons will no doubt continue when the shows go against each other at the end of August.
The Big Family Cooking Showdown launched last night on BBC2 with 1.7m viewers between 8pm and 9pm, slightly below the slot average of 2.1m. Although Channel 4 can’t expect their all-new Bake Off to hit the dizzy heights of 15m viewers (and occupy the top seven most-watched TV show slots as it did in 2016) they’ll certainly be hoping their big-money buy-in rises to the occasion in the ratings and attracts a significantly bigger audience than the BBC’s latest culinary creation could manage.
Ready, steady, cook…