10/10/2016 08:45 BST

'Great British Bake Off' Was Saved By Channel 4, Says Channel Boss Jay Hunt

'Will audiences come to Channel 4? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt.'

Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt has defended the channel’s acquisition of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, insisting the upcoming channel-hop is the right thing for the show.

Earlier this year, fans of ‘Bake Off’ were heavily critical when Channel 4 bought the show after seven successful series on the BBC, particularly when presenters Mel & Sue and beloved judge Mary Berryjumped ship shortly afterwards.

However, defiant Jay is insistent that the move is a good idea, even claiming that Channel 4 has “saved” ‘Bake Off’, due to a poor relationship between the BBC and the show’s production company, Love Productions.

The 'Bake Off' team as we know and love them
Channel 4's Jay Hunt

She also admits that it’s the “format” of ‘Bake Off’ that has had millions of viewers tuning in over the years, and isn’t worried about losing three of the show’s four key players.

Jay adds: “I think in the end format is incredibly important, and this is a highly successful format.

“The case that was put to the board was that in the event that [Love Production’s] relations with the BBC broke down and that it came to market, there might be an opportunity for Channel 4. And that was with no talent attached.”

‘Bake Off’ is set to debut on Channel 4 in 2017, with its new run thought to be starting with a celebrity special, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.

Meanwhile, recent reports have suggested that the BBC are attempting to set up a rival show with Mary Berry and Mel & Sue, which it’s thought may even begin airing before the eighth series of ‘Bake Off’ kicks off on Channel 4.

  • Jo Brand
    Jo Brand
    Barcroft Media via Getty Images
    The obvious choice - Jo fits in well with the 'Bake Off' brand (IF YOU'LL PARDON THE PUN) having hosted spin-off show extra slice for the past three years.

    She was also named the bookies' favourite, more or less as soon as Mel and Sue announced they were stepping down.
  • Davina McCall
    Davina McCall
    Mike Marsland via Getty Images
    Channel 4 and Davina go way back, with 'Big Brother', 'The Million Pound Drop' and 'The Jump' all among the projects she's worked with on C4 in the past.

    On Twitter, hers is the name we keep seeing crop up time and time again, either from people crying out for her to get the job, or pleading with Channel 4 not to give it to her.
  • Alan Carr
    Alan Carr
    Dave J Hogan via Getty Images
    Another of Channel 4's go-tos, Alan at the helm of 'Bake Off' would be a complete change in direction for the show, with his energy and buoyant enthusiasm contrasting heavily with Mel and Sue's more subdued and laidback approach to presenting.
  • Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray
    Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray
    Reigning champ Nadiya has already forged a successful career as a TV personality for herself, and it didn't even take her a year after she won, so putting her in charge might seem like a natural progression.

    In our opinion, it would be a bit too obvious, though, but we'd definitely be in favour of her forming a new double act with runner-up Tamal, with whom she got along like a house on fire in their days on 'GBBO'.
  • John Whaite
    John Whaite
    Steve MeddleITVRexShutterstock
    That said, John Whaite has always held a special place in 'Bake Off' fans' hearts since his victory in the third season.

    Like Nadiya, he too has managed to bag himself a career in TV, so we wouldn't be surprised if the offer fell at his feet either.
  • Olly Murs and Caroline Flack
    Olly Murs and Caroline Flack
    Doug Peters/Doug Peters
    'Ready... set... BAKE... no wait... erm... not yet, don't bake yet. OH WAIT. No, do bake. So yeah... bake. Sorry about that.'
  • Julian Clary
    Julian Clary
    Roberto Ricciuti via Getty Images
    He might seem like a bit of a left-of-field choice for the gig, but when you think about it, he's a perfect fit for 'Bake Off'.

    Julian is the undisputed king of innuendo, and his soft-spoken style lends itself perfectly to the 'Bake Off' tent.

    He's also become a dab hand at light entertainment since his 'CBB' days, appearing on the panel of 'Your Face Sounds Familiar', as well as fronting 'Nature Nuts' and appearing on 'Give A Dog A Home'.
  • Geri Horner
    Geri Horner
    Doug Peters/Doug Peters
    Anyone who's been keeping an eye on Geri's Instagram page will know she's become a baking devotee since her winning stint on celebrity 'Bake Off', and this video of her interviewing Avril Lavigne proves she's certainly got a unique interviewing style.

    Hmmm.... maybe not.
  • Emma Willis
    Emma Willis
    Karwai Tang via Getty Images
    Another star whose name has repeatedly been cropping up.

    Emma must be so stressed out interviewing the stars of 'Celebrity Big Brother' twice a year that we'd be quite happy for her to land a presenting gig that's a bit more... calming.
  • Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
    Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
    Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images
    OH BUT DON'T YOU SEE? They aren't doing it. And they felt the need to tell us this in one the least funny celebrity 'pranks' in recent memory, at the height of 'Bake Off' mania.
Also on HuffPost