There are three things guaranteed to get the British public hot under the collar: Jeremy Clarkson, a political expenses scandal, and The Great British Bake Off.
Since the show first hit our screens in 2010, it has undergone its fair share of scandal. From the infamous Baked Alaska #bingate of 2014, to the custard stealing antics of the series 3 contestants, and even a flurry of bet-rigging accusations. There was nothing however that could have prepared us for the announcement made on Monday that the BBC’s posterchild programme will be moving to Channel 4.
The BBC was balanced, measured and generally very BBC in the way it broke the news:
Channel 4, on the other hand, was slightly more excitable:
Within minutes, #GBBO was trending across the nation as fans voiced their indignation. Most were horrified by the idea of the show featuring adverts, a sentiment that anyone who has been attempting to follow the Paralympic Games in Rio will no doubt echo.
There’s an additional catch. The £75million, three-year deal cut by Love Productions with Channel 4 only includes the rights to the show, not the all-important quartet of presenters and judges.
Yesterday, a blow as hard as an unexpected soggy pie bottom was dealt to Channel 4. In typical pun-filled style, presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc announced that they will not be leaving the BBC:
“We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was. The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15m at its peak.
“We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success”
The immortal Mary Berry, stalwart of British baking television and someone you would definitely want as your grandmother, has yet to comment on the move, but I have a feeling that at 81 she doesn’t have time for this nonsense.
For all her diplomacy, kindness and compassion in times of cake-based crisis, Mary definitely isn’t someone I would mess with. At 13, she contracted polio which left her with a twisted spine and weakness in her left arm. She was told at school she would never amount to much, but look at her now: she is currently filming for the US version of Bake Off and has published more books than JK Rowling (a true fact!).
Paul Hollywood is harder to read. A Liverpudlian with a penchant for expensive cars, he can be forgiven for wanting to have his cake and eat it. At the end of the day though, he’s a smart cookie. Without the softness of Mary and the innuendo-laced moral support of Mel and Sue to balance his blunt manner, the show would be sorely lacking.
The Great British Bake Off is British television at its finest: a quintessentially twee hour of weekly escapism amidst a schedule full of ‘gritty realism’, chilling thrillers and police dramas. The battle for the rights to the show is set to be piping bags at dawn though, and I can’t wait to see the drama unfold.