News Reel & Blog

Written by Daniel Kirby on 30th August 2017

great british bake off return

The Great British Bake Off returned last night for the opening of its eighth series, bringing with it Channel 4’s highest ratings in five years. The show also brought new hosts to our screens in the form of Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, whilst Prue Leith joined Paul Hollywood as a judge. Reviews of the opening episode have been highly positive from critics and viewers alike, and Channel 4 will be hoping this ensures a high viewership across the duration of the season.

In purchasing the show from Love Productions last year, the broadcaster was taking a major risk, and this was further compounded when three of the show’s key names decided against following the show to Channel 4. Judging by the success of this opening episode however, it would appear that buying the show was a savvy move for the broadcaster, as the strong viewing figures and critic reviews point to a show which is likely to become a staple of Channel 4’s portfolio.

Last night’s episode achieved a 30.4% audience share with an average of 6.5 million viewers, a major boost to Channel 4’s typical Tuesday night average of around a million viewers, however this is a significantly lower figure than the average audience figure achieved by the show on ITV last year, at 10.4 million.

After dropping £75 million on securing Bake Off, Channel 4 were naturally hoping for a strong viewership, yet chief creative officer Jay Hunt explained that the show would earn its money back with as little as three million viewers. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival last week she said "if it gets, five, six, seven [million] then I’ll be absolutely delighted."

The programme included over 15 minutes of adverts, and it has been reported that Channel 4 had demanded prices up to double the standard cost of a typical peak time advert, allowing the broadcaster to begin to quickly recoup funds, having also signed sponsorship deals with Dr Oetker and Lyle’s golden syrup.

The show was immediately  followed up by the new series of Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, which began with a strong 1.9 million viewers, rounding off a highly successful night for the broadcaster.