10.3m viewers tune in for first Bake Off since Channel 4 move announced

The Great British Bake Off was watched by 10.3 million viewers on Wednesday night – the best figure since this year’s launch show.

The new series – the last before Bake Off heads to Channel 4 without presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc – kicked off with an average of 10.4 million viewers.

But the peak figure for Wednesday night’s instalment was 11.3 million, even bigger than the 11.2 million of the series debut.

Around 15 million watched as Nadiya Hussain was crowned winner in 2015.

The figures come as the head of Channel 4 promised fans of the show that Bake Off will have a “safe home” on the channel, despite an outpouring of complaints from viewers.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4′s chief creative officer, sought to allay worries the hit baking competition will flounder when it leaves the BBC without its popular presenters.

Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, mainstays of the programme since it began in 2010, are yet to confirm if they will follow.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Ms Hunt said the programme’s makers will be the key ingredient in its future success, while the move will keep it on free-to-air television.

“Great British Bake Off will have a safe home,” she said.

“The show of soggy bottoms and good crumb will be made by exactly the same team who have always made it.

“We love it just as it is. And for an amateur baker like me, that’s a real cause for celebration.”

The TV chief used the recent move of Formula One from the BBC to Channel 4 as an example of its “good track record on protecting and growing the shows viewers love”.

The former BBC executive said Channel 4′s intervention had prevented it being gobbled up by a pay-to-view television service.

“The BBC and Love Productions grew Bake Off from a quaint idea into a global hit. But when they were unable to reach agreement on future series, Bake Off risked coming off free-to-air television altogether.

“By bringing the show to 4, Love Productions have ensured it will be on a terrestrial channel for audiences to enjoy for years to come.”

The controversial move was triggered by the BBC’s unwillingness to pay the company behind Bake Off, Love Productions, a considerably larger sum to keep the programme.

News of Bake Off’s move prompted a wave of anger from fans and a petition to keep it on the BBC has attracted almost 26,000 signatures.

As the programme returned to screens on Wednesday night, fans said the show felt “bittersweet”, with viewers on Twitter speaking of their sadness and frustration.

In a statement released earlier this week, Mel and Sue said they had “made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was” and were not “going with the dough”.

Wednesday night’s show saw 37-year-old nurse Kate Barmby ejected from the tent in batter week.

More in this Section

Netflix reveals streaming numbers for Breaking Bad filmNetflix reveals streaming numbers for Breaking Bad film

Vicky Pattison details struggle to conceive after years of ‘prolific partying’Vicky Pattison details struggle to conceive after years of ‘prolific partying’

Cara Delevingne: We’re all on this planet togetherCara Delevingne: We’re all on this planet together

Jimmy Carr adds extra late Dublin show due to phenomenal demandJimmy Carr adds extra late Dublin show due to phenomenal demand


I had to turn off Dublin Murders with 15 minutes to go. We were watching the first episode because I had to review it the following day for the Today Show on RTÉ.Learner Dad: 'I like to see myself as relaxed but I’m obviously bottling up a fair few anxieties'

Purchasing a thatched cottage was a decision that would change Liam Broderick’s life. Kya deLongchamps meets the long-time thatcherMade in Munster: Meet Cork thatcher Liam Broderick

We take a trip back through the Wolves singer’s most major fashion moments.As Selena Gomez surprises fans with new music, these are some of her best style moments

Sue Rynhart sings at the Green Room in Cork Opera House on Saturday as part of Guinnness Cork Jazz Festival. She is from Dublin and is the mother of three boys.A Question of Taste with Sue Rynhart

More From The Irish Examiner