‘Bake Off’ a ratings hit for Channel 4 as 6.5m tune in
The Great British Bake Off’s debut on Channel 4 attracted a bigger audience than any of the show’s launch episodes on BBC Two — but was well down on last year’s opener on BBC One.
An average of 6.5m people tuned in to Tuesday night’s episode, giving Channel 4 its highest overnight audience for five years, the broadcaster said.
The figure includes those who watched the episode on Channel 4+1.
Bake Off’s biggest overnight audience for a launch episode on BBC Two was 5.6m in 2013.
By contrast the show’s launch on BBC One last year won an overnight average of 10.4m —almost 4m above the figure for Channel 4.
The series returned to television screens with three new faces in its line-up: presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, as well as new judge Prue Leith.
Paul Hollywood was the only member of the original team to move with the show.
Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s outgoing chief creative officer, said: “I was excited by the fantastic reception that the show got. It’s fantastic to see people warming to Noel from episode one, thinking that Prue very naturally stepped into Mary’s shoes and was excellent as a judge, and that Sandi was warm and funny and brought her own particular humour to the tent as well.
“It’s always challenging when you launch a new team and it’s really thrilling to see people warm to them so quickly.”
During the Edinburgh International Television Festival last week, Hunt revealed it was her idea to recruit Fielding.
“I’ve always thought he has huge mainstream appeal, he’s just unknown to a large TV audience because he’s worked in smaller comedies, so it was thrilling to see an audience warming to him and to see he has real empathy for the bakers.
“He has got a particularly charming, surreal turn of phrase that I think works very well in the tent.”