When you think of Great Britain, what immediately comes to mind? The Queen, the BBC and baking of course! Now these three Britishisms are going through a messy divorce. The BBC are being forced away from popular baking show The Great British Bake Off, and The Queen will also be jumping ship to Channel 4 (well Mary Berry is practically The Queen).
The news that the BBC has lost the broadcasting rights to the Great British Bake Off is the worst news I have heard in months. How can a show that is enjoyed by over ten million people per week be taken away from the channel and format that gave birth to it? Is it because the BBC were being unreasonable, or is it simply corporate greed? I suspect it is the former and it will be the viewers who will lose out as a result.
Love Productions are the people behind the GBBO, as well as other shows including Benefits Street and the Great British Sewing Bee. Apparently the reason why Love Productions ceased partnership with the BBC is because they want to 'develop the brand further'. If that means the development of a rubbish mobile app or viewer competitions - I am not interested! Or maybe Love Productions want to ditch Mel & Sue and replace them with Davina McCall and Jon Snow? Why fiddle with a format that clearly works?
So what is next for the show that saw the rise of stars including Nadiya Hussain and Norman Calder? Well nothing exciting as far as I can see. Channel 4 has been announced as the show's new home on a three year contract. But Channel 4 has adverts and I for one avoid the channel at all costs because of this hindrance. What could possibly be worse than Paul Hollywood taking a bite out of a contestant's fairy cake only to be left in suspense by a misplaced advert? I can just imagine it now:
Mel: On your marks...
Sue: Get set...
In unison: Ad break!!
The fact that Love Productions have already announced Channel 4 to be the replacement broadcaster shows how committed the production company were to the BBC. Just three hours after negotiations with the corporation, the announcement came through that Channel 4 had gained the broadcasting rights. Of course Love Productions are already very cosy with Channel 4 having made controversial programmes for them in the past including Benefits Street. I dread to think what Channel 4 will do to the show that is (was) loved by millions. I will have nightmares tonight about '8 out of 10 Cats Do Bake Off' and Gordon Ramsey being revealed as a new judge.
The move also spells disaster for the BBC. With the series being sold to Channel 4 for a reported £25 million per series, it is money the broadcaster just can't afford. Additionally, it is the BBC who have made the show into what it is today - a huge success. A large amount of licence fee money was invested in developing and nurturing the show, yet the format has now been poached by a rival. The BBC can't just become a breeding ground for new television shows - it needs to create them and keep the rights. Buying the broadcasting rights for the Great British Bake Off is a huge gamble in itself for Channel 4, especially with how little time it took for them to negotiate a deal. It is likely that ITV were also in talks with Love Productions, however, they would not buy the series until the on screen talent was signed up. If Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Mel & Sue don't come on board with the new C4 show; it could be a terrible waste of money in one of TV's biggest gambles.
Corporate greed will inevitably lead to the GBBO falling flat on its face. Behind every cupcake is a greedy executive who just isn't satisfied with taxpayer's money funded by the BBC television licence. Fear not though, no doubt the BBC will create an imitation show which will also fall flat on its face. One thing is for sure - 2016 will be the end of the Great British Bake Off as we know it. With no talent signed up and a huge audience revolt, I imagine on Channel 4 the revamped show will look like Iain's Baked Alaska - a sloppy disappointing mess.