Film & TV

R.I.P GBBO As We Know It

It’s hit the news, it’s covered social media, and it’s enraged loving fans. Yes, The Great British Bake Off is moving to Channel 4 for the next series, and if that weren’t bad enough, we have now lost Mel and Sue as presenters. What next, no Mary Berry? At the time of going to press, neither Paul nor Mary have confirmed whether they are planning on staying, but if past statements of theirs expressing a desire to remain with the BBC are anything to go by, it’s not looking hopeful.

For the last 6 years, Great British Bake Off has been the highlight of autumnal Wednesday evenings; an hour of uninterrupted, simple and charming television. It epitomises what it means to be British, and lights up what can often be a depressing time of year with schools back in action, and the end of the summer approaching. Love or hate them, Mel and Sue made the programme what it is, and without them, it seems some of the charm (and innuendos) will leave with them. 

The biggest change will obviously be the inclusion of adverts for mundane things that none of us need such as McCain Oven Chips and Mr Kipling Cakes, all designed to make us spend more and get fatter. What’s more, the programme will probably remain an hour long, yet now with 20 minutes of adverts, meaning the content will have to be reduced drastically to fit the showing time. I speak entirely presumptively, of course, but to me it seems that we are changing something that just doesn’t need to be changed.


Programmes such as GBBO were an incentive to pay the £145 BBC licensing fee – a small price, it seems, to avoid pesky adverts every 15 minutes (like X Factor). Will we now lose well-loved programmes such as Strictly or Poldark simply because large companies who have more money to spend due to advertising revenue, are too greedy to realise that sometimes it’s more than about money, but about pleasure for the viewer?

The key is the word ‘British’ in the title of our beloved programme – it’s a representation of us, and that in part is the BBC. If you ask any foreigner in the UK what they think of when you mention Britain, they will undoubtedly mention the British Broadcasting Corporation that helps makes up our history. We must preserve it, not tear it down. Love Productions, the company behind GBBO would not, according to the BBC website, ‘accept offers below £25m’ when the BBC were previously paying them ‘£15m’. It’s an act of pure greed and nothing else.

As much as I hate to say it, it seems that we need to accept that the GBBO we all know and love is ending, to be replaced by something that carries the same name and format, but cannot replicate the programme we all love.

Emily Harbottle

All views expressed in this article are entirely the writer’s own.

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Media and information sourced from The Telegraph, The Guardian and the BBC.

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