When Channel 4 made its bold swoop for The Great British Bake Off last year many viewers were worried that the flow of their favourite show would be disturbed by ad breaks.
But new judge Prue Leith has a simple solution (which may not thrill her new bosses) – record the show and fast-forward through the ad breaks.
“I want to comfort some people who might think ‘oh I don’t want to go to Channel 4 because I have to have the ads’,” said Leith, “well, you don’t have to watch in real time, do you?”
Presumably Leith’s idea would be to record the show, start watching fifteen minutes in and speed through the breaks – a practice which commercial broadcasters discourage given that their programmes are funded by advertising.
And there were gasps from the audience when Leith made the suggestion at a press screening of the first episode of the new series on Monday, prompting new presenter Sandi Toksvig to (jokingly, we presume) apologise to C4’s chief creative Officer Jay Hunt.
Richard Bacon who was hosting a question and answer session with Leith, Paul Hollywood and new presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, also weighed in.
“That is not the official line from the commercial director of Channel 4,” said Bacon. “That’s not the line. Go home and watch the adverts. They are really good ads as well.”
Asked whether adverts would impact the show negatively or whether it could use them creatively to build tension, Hunt told RadioTimes.com “I think it’s a good point. I don’t think it would necessarily add to the tension but with a show like this we are very sensitive how it moves in the commercial environment. But we are a commercial broadcaster and we need to pay for shows like Bake Off so I make no apology for there being ads in it. But we have been very careful about where the ads sit.”
You can find out whether the new show works when the first instalment airs on Channel 4 on Tuesday 29th August.
The episode will see the 12 new bakers attempt to make a cake using only fresh and not dried fruit – actually quite a tricky proposition – as well as small chocolate rolls and a showstopper finale.
Hollywood says that the standard of baking this series is the best he has ever seen.
“Every single week this year is better than any other we have done,” he said. “The standard of the baking this year was annoyingly good. I mean that in a nice way. Because they were just… ‘how did you do that? Where do you people come from?’ New techniques, new flavour new ideas.”
Leith even joked that she was planning to write a baking book and steal some of the recipes from the contestants.
Among those impressing the judges in the early stages are marketing professional Steven, 34, and 29-year-old Edinburgh architect Tom (below).
The Great British Bake Off begins on Channel 4 on Tuesday 29th August at 8pm