Great British Bake Off: BBC moves rival cooking show in scheduling spat

The BBC is moving its new cooking show to avoid a clash with The Great British Bake Off when it launches on Channel 4.

Channel 4 has poached Bake Off from the BBC and has scheduled the new series to open at 20:00 BST on Tuesday 29 August.

The Big Family Cooking Showdown is on BBC Two at the same time on Tuesdays – but it will now move to Thursdays.

The BBC said Channel 4’s choice to move Bake Off from its previous Wednesday slot would be a “surprise” for viewers who “may see this as a cynical move”.

However, Channel 4 said: “We made the decision about where to schedule The Great British Bake Off a few months after acquiring it and we haven’t moved it since then.

“It is in the original Tuesday evening slot where the majority of past series have played.”

Bake Off has been shown on Wednesdays for the past three years, but was on Tuesdays from 2010-2013.

‘Room for both’

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Channel 4’s decision to move Bake Off from its long-term traditional Wednesday slot will be a surprise to many viewers who may see this as a cynical move.

“We never intended for our new cookery show to clash with theirs.

“There is room for both and we don’t, in this instance, see any public value in two public service broadcasters going head to head in this way.”

She said moving The Big Family Cooking Showdown was “in the best interest of viewers”.

The new series of Bake Off will start with cake week – one of the traditional challenges when the show was on the BBC.

Judge Paul Hollywood has moved with the show from the BBC and will be joined in the tent by Prue Leith. They have set 30 challenges for the 12 amateur bakers, which will be shown over 10 weeks.

‘Trickiest showstopper’

The Channel 4 listings give a taste of what is to come in the first offering: “The Bake Off begins with cake week, and sees the bakers take on a fruity signature challenge.

“Next, Prue sets her first technical – a children’s tea party favourite – and everyone is out to impress the new judge.

“And for their final challenge comes the trickiest showstopper ever set in the first week of Bake Off: an illusion cake. Creating these mind-blowing illusion cakes will test their baking and design skills to the limit. Paul and Prue want to see what the bakers – and their cakes – are made of.”

Comedian Noel Fielding and QI host Sandi Toksvig are the new hosts.

The BBC lost the contract to broadcast The Great British Bake Off last year after Love Productions, the makers of the show, signed a three-year deal with Channel 4.

Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins subsequently decided not to move with the programme.

The Big Family Cooking Showdown debuted on BBC Two on 15 August, hosted and judged by former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, presenter Zoe Ball, TV cook Rosemary Shrager and chef Giorgio Locatelli.


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