Beloved UK television series The Great British Bake Off has met a grim fate: After seven seasons, the reality competition show chronicling the trials and tribulations of amateur bakers is on the verge of falling apart.
The BBC, which has aired the GBBO since it premiered in 2010, has lost broadcast rights to the show; going forward it will be shown on Channel 4, which reportedly outbid the BBC by offering the show’s production company £10 million more per year. (Channel 4 is known for airing somewhat more salacious reality series, such as the original Big Brother.)
What exactly a shift to a new network could mean for the show was not immediately clear, but the fallout was swift: On the heels of the Channel 4 news came the announcement that co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins would not be following the show to its new home.
Giedroyc and Perkins — or Mel and Sue, as viewers know them — have hosted the series since it began, alongside judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Besides providing witty banter, Mel and Sue also serve as compassionate and genuinely sweet support beams for the contestants, in comparison to the judges who can be vicious.
Mel and Sue said in a joint statement, “We were very shocked and saddened to learn yesterday evening that Bake Off will be moving from its home. We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was.”
Now, GBBO fans are left to wonder what will become of the show once all the dust settles:
WHAT THE FUCK IS THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF WITHOUT MEL AND SUE— FiveNightsAtSoo's (@TheGhostOfNini) September 13, 2016
Glad I'm leaving the UK soon. I imagine the fallout from this will be worse than Brexit.https://t.co/TcZafI3RKN— Katie O'Neill (@_Katie__ONeill) September 13, 2016
Some are worried that a shift to a new network will destroy what sets it apart from all those other reality shows: A Buzzfeed commenter wrote, “I think the whole show is very twee, everyone is so nice to each other and that fits with the BBC. Channel 4 will probably make them go into a diary room and dish the dirt on each other or put some sort of jeopardy into it where they pit the contestants against each other.”
As GBBO fans furiously Google to find out what will become of their show, here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
Who owns the Great British Bake Off?
Not the BBC, as many fans are just now learning. The show’s creator, Love Productions, grants the broadcast rights to whoever it wishes — and starting next year, that’s Channel 4.
Why is GBBO moving?
In a word, money. Channel 4 reportedly outbid the BBC for broadcasting rights by £10 million per year. A move to Channel 4 means commercial breaks, which means advertising dollars and bigger checks for the show’s creators (and presumably, its stars).
Who will host the Bake Off?
That much is currently unknown, but tragically it will not be Mel and Sue. We will update this post as that information becomes available.