The Great British Bake Off move has sparked a public row between the BBC and Channel 4.
James Purnell, the BBC’s director of strategy, told the Royal Television Society conference in London that viewers were “extremely saddened that they’re not going to have something they absolutely love” with the show moving to Channel 4.
“You’re going to have your own take on it, but I think something really, really precious will be lost,” he said, adding that Channel 4 had “given ammunition to the people who want to privatise Channel 4″.
But Jay Hunt, Channel 4′s chief creative officer, hit back, telling him that C4 did not poach Bake Off.
The relationship between the BBC and the show’s creators, Love Productions, is said to have deteriorated over budget rows and accusations that the corporation had used its format for other shows.
“I understand how painful it is to lose franchises, but let’s be utterly clear: this is an independent producer who, after three years of an increasingly dysfunctional relationship, decided they would no longer make the show for you,” the Channel 4 boss said.
“At that point, that franchise was in the market. I appreciate that’s very painful and if I was sitting at the BBC, I would be thinking quite long and hard about how that situation had arisen. But that is what happened.”
The row comes after Mary Berry announced she would be following in the footsteps of Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and staying at the BBC. Paul Hollywood is moving to Channel 4.