Great British Bake Off is a ratings success for Channel 4

Great British Bake Off is a ratings success for Channel 4

Great British Bake Off is a ratings success for Channel 4

The Great British Bake Off’s debut on Channel 4 attracted a bigger audience than any of the show’s launch episodes on BBC Two – but was well down on last year’s opener on BBC One.

An average of 6.5 million people tuned in to Tuesday night’s episode, giving Channel 4 its highest overnight audience for five years, the broadcaster said. The figure includes those who watched the episode on Channel 4+1.

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off  presenters and judges (left to right) Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (Channel 4/PA)

Bake Off’s biggest overnight audience for a launch episode on BBC Two was 5.6 million in 2013.

By contrast the show’s launch on BBC One last year won an overnight average of 10.4 million – almost four million above the figure for Channel 4.

SHOWBIZ BakeOff

The Great British Bake Off: how the overnight ratings for the launch show compare (PA Graphics)

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s outgoing chief creative officer, said: “The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows.

“I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade.”

The Great British Bake Off

Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding on The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4/PA)

During the Edinburgh International Television Festival last week, Hunt said she would be “absolutely delighted” if the new series of Bake Off was watched by “five, six, seven million” on the channel.

The series returned to television screens on Tuesday night with three new faces in its line-up: presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, as well as new judge Prue Leith.

Paul Hollywood was the only member of the original team to move with the show to Channel 4. He told BBC Radio 2 he had only “caught the last 20 minutes” of the launch show, but added: “It was great. All the reaction has been very, very positive, which is great news.”

The first episode saw IT programme manager Peter, 52, get sent home. It also heralded the arrival of ad breaks, which were absent during the show’s run on the BBC.

The episode’s ratings of 6.5 million is nearly double the number recorded for Diana: In Her Own Words, which had been Channel 4’s largest overnight audience so far this year.

This year's batch of bakers.

This year’s batch of bakers (Channel 4/PA)

It is also the highest overnight ratings enjoyed by Channel 4 since the opening ceremony of the London Paralympic Games in August 2012.

The figure is likely to rise higher when the official consolidated ratings are published next week, which will include people who recorded the show and watched it up to seven days afterwards.

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