The Great British Bake Off has been dealing with some drama over the past several weeks, despite skyrocketing ratings. The BBC lost the series to Channel 4 and it looks like most of the original cast members will be leaving the baking show when it moves to a new network. We already knew we were saying goodbye to hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and this morning judge Mary Berry also decided she would be departing The Great British Bake Off. She basically said her decision was made out of loyalty for the network who gave her a job for the last seven TV seasons. Here's what she had to say:
My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision.
Mary Berry's words echo similar statements from Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, who also professed they were leaving out of loyalty for the BBC, which has aired the show in the UK for the past seven seasons. (In the US, episodes are hosted by PBS, although they air rather late and have a slightly different name.) The reason there is so much behind-the-scenes drama related to The Great British Bake Off's move is because the BBC wanted to keep the series and the network was outbid.
Yes, outbid. The BBC made no bones about wanting to keep the Love Productions series a few weeks ago. They put in a nice little bid, but they really couldn't compete with the money that Channel 4 threw at the series. Here was the BBC's original plea to attempt to keep the series:
We made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money. The BBC's resources are not infinite. GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme.
Obviously, the allure of more money was a bigger draw, and the show will be moving to Channel 4 for its next iteration. However, there will be some major changes to the main cast when that happens. Although the ladies are saying goodbye to the hit competition series, practical Paul Hollywood has decided to stay put. He also released a statement mentioning that he will be back for the Channel 4 series but that he will very much miss Mary Berry, who he only recently learned would be quitting, per the BBC.
Let there be no doubt: I have loved every minute of my time working with Mary. I have learned so much from her and we are great friends inside and outside the tent. That will not change. Knowing her as well as I do, I am sure she has made the right decision for her. I will miss her.
We'll let you know as soon as the new iteration of The Great British Bake Off cements its brand new cast. In the meantime, here's what is headed to TV this fall.