The Great British Bake Off’s highly anticipated return to television attracted a total of 6.5 million viewers in its new home on Channel 4.
A total of 5.8 million viewers watched on Channel 4 and Channel 4 HD between 8pm and 9.15pm on Tuesday, with a further 700,000 viewers tuning in on Channel 4 +1, 30% share of all television viewers at those times.
The opening episode attracted a bigger audience than any of the series premieres broadcast on BBC2 (the largest being 5.6 million in 2013), but as expected was unable to match the huge 10.5m million viewers who watched the first episode of the final series on BBC1 last year.
Last night’s figures also represent a massive increase on the slot average for Tuesday nights at 8pm on Channel 4 which this year is 1.4 million viewers and a 7.1% share across the channels.
Channel 4 bosses have said they’re “delighted” with the performance of the show, which it never expected to match the figures on BBC1. Some fans had vowed not to tune in to the show with new faces Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith, but general reaction from both TV critics and fans to the changes were positive.
The broadcaster’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: “The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows. I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade.”
Last week she told the Edinburgh Television Festival: “If it gets 5, 6, 7 [million] I would be absolutely delighted.”
“Let me clear that this show breaks even at around 3m so anything north of that would be fantastic.”