Catherine Scott: Will you be watching Bake Off on Channel 4 ?
The Great British Bake Off is an institution in our house. It is one of those few occasions, like the Olympics, when we all sit down as a family and watch the successes and the disasters that befall the amateur bakers.
My youngest is allowed to stay up until 9pm on a school night to watch it and even my eldest will often deign us with her presence as she secretly loves it too.
A programme that watches people baking cakes, brilliantly or badly, wasn’t necessarily going to be a recipe for success. In fact when it first started in 2010 and was one by Yorkshireman Edd Kimber it only drew an audience of 2.7 million.
Now with a switch to BBC One and audiences of up to 13 million, the Great British Bake Off has become an institution which crosses generational boundaries and even gender ones.
It has made a household name of baker Paul Hollywood and cemented Mary Berry as a national treasure. Would this have happened had it been aired on a commercial channel?
The news that the BBC has lost what many view as one of, if not the BEEB’s flagship programmes then its core programmes, to Channel 4 has caused public outcry.
Many will be surprised to learn that the BBC didn’t make Bake Off, rather they bought it from Love Productions who have hiked up the cost so much, to a reported £25m for the next series, that the BBC couldn’t compete with Channel 4.
But will it make any difference in the long run?
Will adverts be detrimental to our enjoyment ? Well in our case it might mean my youngest can’t stay up so late to catch the end of it. We could watch it on catch up but would need to hide ourselves way so as not to hear who got kicked out.
I can’t help thinking that the whimsical nature that makes the Great British Bake Off special may well be lost in a more commercial world.
But may be we are being too precious. At the end of the day it is a television programme and people can chose whether or not they want to watch it.
It is a sign of the times we live in that the way people watch television is changing be young recognition. It makes you wonder for how much loner will we have such brand loyalty towards our television channels. The likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime already make me feel like my television viewing habits are out of the arc. I’m not sure my children understand the fuss about which channel the Bake Off is one, although they might when they aren’t allowed to stay up to find out who wins.