The Great British Bake Off has been a huge series for the BBC over the past several years, but there's been some recent drama related to the show. Namely, the production company that owned the series chose to take other bids and will be moving the show to a different network, and most of the major players involved with the series will be quitting. Still, this news all came out before the BBC finished airing episodes of The Great British Bake Off. The show said goodbye to the BBC with a holiday special that aired on the network this week, but viewership was way down for the special, ending the show's run on a particularly low note.
Reports indicate that The Great British Bake Off holiday special only brought on 4.6 million total viewers. The episode was the second part of a special that had first aired on Christmas Day and brought in more than six million total viewers. While the audience for the follow-up episode was still fairly sizable, per THR, it does mark a fall in viewership in episodes past. The final episode of the season actually brought in 14 million total viewers in comparison and had been breaking ratings records in the U.K. previously. Still, ending on a low note when the cast and crew are saying goodbye to the BBC is sad.
It should be noted that ratings expectations during the holiday season are lower than at other parts of the year. There's not a lot of new TV, so viewers often look to other activities in the interim. In addition, plenty of people are vacationing or visiting family members around this time of year, so it's not a huge shock that numbers for the holiday special would be lower. Still, 4.6 million viewers is a particularly low note and may not bode super well for the show heading to Channel 4 in the future.
When the Channel 4 version of The Great British Bake Off picks up, it will be a whole lot different. Hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins were the first to quit the series after its production company moved it to a different channel, but they weren't the last. Soon after, judge Mary Berry also quit the long-running series in order to continue producing other programs over at the BBC. Only judge Paul Hollywood is expected to stick with the series during its move and for at least three more seasons, should the show continue for that long.
We don't know exactly when the new version of the show will fully come together or when it will premiere on Channel 4, but if you live in the States, you should be expecting the episodes to show up a whole lot later, anyway. To find out what is premiering at midseason, take a look at our winter TV schedule.