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BBC has been hit with another big loss. Following the departure of the entire Top Gear line-up in 2015, and the failed revival of the series with ex-host Chris Evans, BBC has now lost The Great British Bake Off, the most watched show on the network in 2015.
BBC failed to reach an agreement with the shows creator, Love productions, who have signed a three-year deal with Channel 4. BBC attempted to buy the rights back from Love Productions for £15m per year, but the company refused any offer under £25m. Love productions has stated that they have been in talks with BBC for the past year, with BBC make one last effort this past Monday to try and secure the show. BBC was hopeful that Love productions would relinquish the rights to the show as it was “quintessentially BBC programme”. Channel 4 will air their first edition of the program in 2017 which is planned to be a celebrity edition for the charity Stand Up to Cancer.
The reason for the initial loss of the rights is a result of BBC’s unwillingness to offer more money for the brand after negotiations broke down between the two. Love productions struck a deal with Channel 4 that same evening for a larger sum of money, though the exact amount has not been disclosed.
Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt stated “”Channel 4 is very proud to be the new home for The Great British Bake Off. I’m delighted we have been able to partner with the hugely talented team at Love Productions to keep this much-loved show on free-to-air television.” Richard McKerrow, creative director for Love Productions, said “”we believe we’ve found the perfect new home for Bake Off. “It’s a public service, free-to-air broadcaster for whom Love Productions have produced high-quality and highly successful programmes for more than a decade. It’s tremendously exciting to have found a broadcaster who we know will protect and nurture The Great British Bake Off for many years to come.”
At the time of the announcement, the presenters of the show had only just been informed of the change, and negotiations had yet to begin. Today, BBC announced that hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Geidroyc have decided to step down from the series, following the move.
The duo stated “”We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was… we’re not going with the dough.” Upon hearing the news they said they felt “very shocked and saddened” that the show would be departing from BBC, stating that “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 15 [million] at its peak. We wish all the future bakers every success.”
Love Productions thanked them for their dedication to the show since its premiere in 2010, and for “bringing their unique humour to the tent”.