Could the BBC make their own Bake Off replacement?

great british bake off baking show paul hollywood mary berry bbc one britain's best home cook claudia winkleman

Ever since the news that The Great British Bake Off would be moving from BBC One to Channel Four, there’s been one question raised – could the BBC make their own, very similar, replacement? The question has only been strengthened with the news that Sue Perkins, Mel Geidroyc, and Mary Berry won’t be returning to the show; why not bring the three of them together once more, for The Great British Cake Off, perhaps?

What Channel 4 bought was the broadcasting rights for the concept – essentially, they paid £75 million to be allowed to show people baking in a tent. It’s not exactly the most innovative and unique concept, though; television is proliferated with talent shows and competitions, linked to a variety of different idiosyncratic skills, with a lot of crossover between them. MasterchefThe Great British Menu, and so on and so forth have all been able to meaningfully co-exist, so presumably another baking show could be thrown into the mix.

I’ve written a new article for Yahoo, with a bit of analysis about whether or not the BBC could make their own Bake Off replacement, looking at various precedents, the relationship between the BBC and Love Production, and a little bit of wild speculation too.

(I wrote this pretty much entirely because of the frankly bizarre about of hate comments my original Bake Off piece garnered.)

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The Great British Bake Off Disaster, and what it means for the BBC

great british bake off baking show paul hollywood mary berry mel geidroyc sue perkins bbc one channel 4 prue leith sandi toksvig noel fielding love productions

Bakexit means bakexit, or so they’re currently saying.

By this point, we’ve likely all heard the news – the BBC’s popular teatime show The Great British Bake Off will be moving to Channel 4 for its next season, and in the move it’s going to lose presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. At time of writing, there’s no news as to whether Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will be making the move – the new deal with Channel 4 didn’t include them, and so their contracts will need to be renegotiated – but it’s already becoming clear that The Great British Bake Off, when it does return next year, will be returning in a significantly different capacity.

This speaks of a larger, systemic problem in terms of attitudes to the BBC, though – the manner in which it is so criminally underfunded, and the lack of care given to it. In 2010 we saw the licence fee frozen; the television centre in London was closed not long after that; earlier this year, BBC Three was forced to become an online only platform. Most pertinent in terms of Bake Off was the regime change instituted recently, stating that 25% of the BBC’s content has to be guaranteed to independent companies, and a further 25% open to competition between independent companies and BBC producers. It’s essentially this stipulation – and further meddling from the current Conservative government – that leads to the BBC losing programs such as The Great British Bake Off or The Voice.

Tragedy struck yesterday, as no doubt everyone heard. Bake Off is moving channel! Mel and Sue are leaving! It’s the end of the world! More importantly, though, it reveals something worrying about how the BBC is treated…

(“Criminally underfunded” is probably a bit much, and I suspect I was reaching for things without the fullest understanding of the bigger picture. Still, though, I am very pro-BBC.)

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