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Bake Off rises to six million viewers for Channel 4

The opening episode of Great British Bake Off gave Channel 4 its highest ratings in five years.

However, it wasn’t a sweet success for the commercial channel – as last year’s opener on the BBC had 4.6million more viewers.

An average of 5.8million tuned in to watch Tuesday’s episode of the eighth series after Channel 4 outbid the BBC for the contract.

When catch-up figures were included, the number climbed to 6.5million – the largest audience for Channel 4 since the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Yesterday Channel 4 bosses said the figures vindicated their £75million gamble on a three-year contract.

But last year’s first episode on BBC1 started with an audience of 10.4million, which grew to 14million for the finale.

Fans of Britain’s favourite cooking show appeared to miss Mel and Sue as new narrator and host Noel Fielding made his debut

New presenters Sandi Toksvig and Fielding proved willing to continue their predecessor's enthusiasm for raunchy humour

New presenters Sandi Toksvig and Fielding proved willing to continue their predecessor’s enthusiasm for raunchy humour

It was a successful debut for new presenting team Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith, who replaced the much-loved Mel and Sue

It was a successful debut for new presenting team Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith, who replaced the much-loved Mel and Sue

Some decline had been considered inevitable, given that Channel 4 typically draws far smaller audiences.

Millions shunned the new 75-minute programme, which had 17 minutes of adverts, two new presenters – and no Mary Berry.

Nevertheless, Channel 4’s outgoing chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, said: ‘The Great British Bake Off’s audience proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows. I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade.’

Sources said there was ‘whooping’ and ‘high-fiving’ in the London HQ. The Bake Off ratings dwarfed the typical audience of around three million for Gogglebox, one of Channel 4’s most viewed shows.

Miss Hunt indicated last week they only needed three million to break even. The show’s hefty price tag was matched by the designer clothes worn by the two new presenters. Flamboyant comedian Noel Fielding wore a £260 shirt with a raven pattern from London-based Silken Favours.  

Judge Paul Hollywood had previously said he would consider eight million viewers a ‘slump’ and a sign ‘we need to change something’. 

Hollywood is the only remaining member of the old Bake Off team and it was mixed reviews for his new colleagues Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith, who replaced the much-loved Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and Marry Berry. 

But while some fans tried to shun their sense of guilt and celebrated the trio on Twitter, they were less than impressed with the new-look Hollywood.

Known for his harsh and stern treatment of bakers, the expert baker appeared to be a lot warmer in last night’s episode and was accused by viewers of being too ‘nice’.

Audiences were over the moon to see Bake Off’s trademark innuendos and banter back on our screens, but were frustrated about its succession of advert breaks.

Many viewers felt they were ‘rushed in’ at the expense of the programme.  

The new presenters were introduced to the series by looking for the tent in a giant hot air balloon, with Toksvig on the phone: ‘Sorry Sue, did you say a white tent?’

Hollywood heralded the arrival of the new judge by saying: ‘This year is going to be very special.

‘The bakers may think they know what I want but when it comes to Prue they have absolutely no idea.’

Meanwhile Leith promised to be ‘firm by fair.’ 

It was always going to be tough to follow in the footsteps of Mel and Sue and for many viewers, Fielding in particular did not get off to a good start. 

Bake Off judge Prue was spotted enjoying a day out with friends in Oxford the morning after the debut hit our screens

Bake Off judge Prue was spotted enjoying a day out with friends in Oxford the morning after the debut hit our screens

Bake Off judge Prue was spotted enjoying a day out with friends in Oxford the morning after the debut hit our screens, with her performance attracting mixed reviews from fans

One fan tweeted: ‘Noel Fielding’s voice overs are disturbing me, like he’s doing an impression of a 50’s BBC presenter.’

Another wrote: ‘I hate Noel Fieldings voice over already,’ while another posted: ‘I’m not even sure about the voice over man.’ and another said: ‘Noel sounds like he’s presenting CBeebies.’

One viewer said: ‘The kids don’t like Noel Fielding’s narration – he speaks too quietly, apparently. I’m not mega-keen, either. Still, give it time.’ 

But not all were left cold by the comedian’s debut, one fan wrote: ‘I think I’ve fallen in love with Noel Fielding’ and another said: ‘Noel Fielding is brilliant. I think I actually love him.’

Another said: ‘Am i the only one that likes the new #gbbo ??? like it’s basically the same plus it has noel fielding.’

Another said: ‘Screw the haters, Noel Fielding will be great on Bake off, just a pity about the adverts.’ 

Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith examine the contestant's cakes, while new presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig watch on

Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith examine the contestant’s cakes, while new presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig watch on

Another viewer wrote: 'The kids don't like Noel Fielding's narration - he speaks too quietly, apparently. I'm not mega-keen, either. Still, give it time'

Another viewer wrote: ‘The kids don’t like Noel Fielding’s narration – he speaks too quietly, apparently. I’m not mega-keen, either. Still, give it time’

Leith was also a hit with certain members of the audience, who even said she was better than former judge Mary Berry. 

One viewer tweeted: ‘Unpopular opinion but I already like Prue more than Mary Berry, loving this new set up other than the ads!’

Another said: ‘Sorry, Prue Leith is so, so, so much better than Mary Berry as a judge. Not even a comparison. #GBBO.’

One fan said: ‘Anyone missing Mary Berry? Nah, me neither. Noel Fielding fits in well and Prue seems a very good Berry replacement #GBBO.’

Another wrote: ‘Prue Leith is as good on Bake Off as Mary Berry was. There, I’ve said it!’ 

But while some fans were focusing on the performances of the new presenters, others were preoccupied with show stalwart Hollywood.

One fan wrote: ‘Paul Hollywood trying to be nice on bake off when we all know he’s a snake who abandoned Mary.’

Another said: ‘Has someone told Paul Hollywood to be nice? It’s weird. #GBBO’

One said: ‘Paul Hollywood is being so nice it makes me wonder what Mary, Mel and Sue ever did to the poor guy #GBBO.’

When the show aired on the BBC episodes lasted one hour and featured no adverts.

The new presenters were introduced to the series by looking for the tent in a giant hot air balloon, with Toksvig on the phone: 'Sorry Sue, did you say a white tent?'

The new presenters were introduced to the series by looking for the tent in a giant hot air balloon, with Toksvig on the phone: ‘Sorry Sue, did you say a white tent?’

Paul Hollywood ‘raised the bar’ with his handshakes on GBBO

Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has said he only watched the last 20 minutes of the show when it made its debut last night. 

Hollywood, 51, told Sara Cox on BBC Radio 2 that he did not like seeing himself on TV. 

‘I caught the last 20 minutes of it last night. I was there so I didn’t need to watch the whole thing.

‘But it was great, all the reaction has been very, very positive, which is great news.’

Asked about not sitting down for the full episode, he said: ‘I sort of know (what it looks like) but, to be honest, I don’t like watching myself on telly so I flit in and out, grab a cup of tea.’

He promised: ‘Next week we have biscuit week and some of the things they produce in that are spectacular.’ 

The judge, who moved with the hit series when it left the BBC, said he had to ‘raise the bar a little bit on the handshakes’.

Viewers saw him give out two handshakes – his highest form of praise – to two contestants.

‘I gave out two handshakes … I was giving them out and thinking this is ridiculous,’ he said.

He added: ‘There’s a lot more people baking now than there was nine years ago. That’s a good thing … If we get people baking then Bake Off’s done its job and I think it’s worked over the last few years.’

Another said: ‘Screw the haters, Noel Fielding will be great on Bake off, just a pity about the adverts.’ 

One tweeted: ‘Such is my shallowness, I’ve already forgotten about Mary, Mel and Sue and am on to complaining about adverts #GBBO.’ 

When the show aired on the BBC episodes lasted one hour and featured no adverts.

The first commercial was for online auctioning site Ebay, while other ads were for brands including Freeview, Lloyds, BMW and EE and Channel 4 shows such as Gogglebox, Celebs Go Dating and new comedy Back.

One fan wrote: ‘#GBBO feels way too rushed now they’ve squished adverts in! while another said: ‘It’s too bloody rushed to fit in ALL THE ADVERTS surprise’ and another wrote: ‘#GBBO Too many adverts – rushed judging to fit more ads in – get a grip @Channel4.’

Others said they missed the history segments and external shots of animals around the tent.

One fan wrote: ‘I don’t know the history of mini rolls I need the history of mini rolls. I don’t need adverts.’

Another said: ‘Just realised that to make room for adverts, C4 have cut all the external shots. No more sheeps and squirrels. That’s GBBO done for me.’

The Great British Bake Off's tradition for innuendo has not been subdued by the change in hosts, judge and channel

The Great British Bake Off’s tradition for innuendo has not been subdued by the change in hosts, judge and channel

The Great British Bake Off returned to TV screens across the country in the first show since its switch from the BBC to Channel 4

The Great British Bake Off returned to TV screens across the country in the first show since its switch from the BBC to Channel 4

Other viewers said the inclusion of the breaks felt strange and jarring.

One said: ‘So #GBBO is back, always going to like Noel Fielding BUT adverts in bake off is just wrong and weird,’ as another wrote: ‘Can’t get used to #bakeoff with adverts, this is too weird’ and another added: ‘#GBBO hate hate hate all these adverts.’

However others embraced the breaks and used them as chances to eat their own cakes.

One viewer looked on the bright side saying: ‘These commercial breaks are good for a quick brew and a Mr Kipling.’

Another joked: ‘Loving #GBBO I made a cake in the adverts!’

Others used the time to get tasks done, with one fan saying; ‘#GBBO Ads? So what? Not as if we haven’t got them on other progs. Go to the loo. Make a cuppa. Unload the dishwasher. Have a snog!’

Another wrote: ‘I actually love the adverts during #GBBO i’ve managed to change my bedsheets and make a cup of tea during them. #Productive’. 

Contestants create a wide range of sweets and pastry dishes, including cakes, pies and patisserie before returning judge Paul Hollywood and series newcomer Prue Leith cast a critical eye over their efforts

Contestants create a wide range of sweets and pastry dishes, including cakes, pies and patisserie before returning judge Paul Hollywood and series newcomer Prue Leith cast a critical eye over their efforts

New presenters Sandi Toksvig and Fielding proved willing to continue their predecessor's enthusiasm for raunchy humour

New presenters Sandi Toksvig and Fielding proved willing to continue their predecessor’s enthusiasm for raunchy humour

As the contest changes channels, presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding welcome a new batch of cooks to the tent

As the contest changes channels, presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding welcome a new batch of cooks to the tent

The Great British Bake Off’s tradition for innuendo has not been subdued by the change in hosts, judge and channel. 

New presenters Sandi Toksvig and Fielding proved willing to continue their predecessor’s enthusiasm for raunchy humour.

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins frequently raised eyebrows and prompted giggles with their double entendres while the show was a fixture on the BBC.

Toksvig kicked off proceedings by telling the amateurs their time for baking a fruit-filled cake was almost up, announcing: ‘You have two minutes to bring this to a fruity conclusion, and you know, who doesn’t want that?’

While administering instructions for the technical challenge of chocolate mini rolls, she told the hopefuls the cakes must be ‘covered in chocolate but, cheekily, do not worry about leaving a bare bottom.’

Fielding also embraced the ‘bare bottom’ humour by saying: ‘If there is an opportunity to keep the bottom exposed we should all embrace that.

‘I’m planning on taking my trousers off when Paul and Prue do the judging.’ 

TWO ‘HOLLYWOOD HANDSHAKES’ 

Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood stunned viewers when he offered up two coveted ‘Hollywood handshakes’ in the first task of the first episode of the new series.

As the show debuted on Channel 4, Hollywood gave his highest praise to bakers Sophie and Steven.

The hard-to-please judge was impressed with Sophie’s pineapple and coconut sandwich cake, hailing it as delicious.

The offered hand shocked the baker so much she said: ‘I’m worried I might have peaked too soon.’

As the show debuted on Channel 4, Hollywood gave his highest praise to bakers Sophie and Steven (pictured)

As the show debuted on Channel 4, Hollywood gave his highest praise to bakers Sophie and Steven (pictured)

He also offered his hand out to Steven for his bonfire night cake with toffee apples, which Hollywood described as ‘beautifully baked.’

Steven was so stunned he said: ‘When he put his hand out, I thought he was going to hit me.’

Viewers were stunned he was so liberal with his highest praise, with one writing: ‘Paul needs to calm down with these handshakes. Cant just give away a Hollywood handshake.’

Another wrote: ‘Hollywood handshakes on episode 1?? What’s going on??’

Another viewer wrote: ‘Two handshakes already..far too generous for the first episode Paul,’ while another said: ‘2 handshakes already is grade inflation.’

Another viewer was baffled by his generosity, saying: ‘I thought Paul’s handshake was like a rare golden goose…what is going on? This feels weird.’ 

IT programme manager Peter failed to rise to the occasion as he got the chop in the first episode of the show not to air on the BBC.

The hit programme returned to television in its new home with different presenters and a new judge but the familiar tropes of oven-watching, cake binning and sprinting round the tent in a race against the clock.

The first episode to air since the programme parted ways with the BBC featured new presenting team Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, as well as new judge Prue Leith, who joined series regular Paul Hollywood, and the arrival of ad breaks.

Leith took over the baton from previous judge Mary Berry, while Toksvig and Fielding stepped into the shoes of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

The show, which is still made by Love Productions, featured the same theme music and opening sequence, as well as the same bunting-decorated tent and three-challenge format.

Essex resident Peter, 52, was the first to get the boot from the competition after his coconut cake contained too much baking powder, his chocolate mini rolls failed to impress and his cake in the shape of a bread and bread board proved to be too dry and too simple for the judges.

He said: ‘I’m disappointed to be the first off, but it has been a lovely experience throughout. It was quite surreal from day one, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

‘No matter how far you go in the series, it’s still great to be part of the show. And it doesn’t end for me on week one, as all of the bakers are my friends now, and they are amazing in their own way.

‘They are a wonderful bunch of guys and we keep in touch regularly. I will be watching them throughout of course.’

He added: ‘My daughter Temi always wanted me to apply in previous years, and this year she let me know when the applications were open and really encouraged me to apply.

‘Although I am the first baker to leave the tent it doesn’t mean it’s a bad experience. To be shortlisted from such a large list of applications and to be one of the 12 bakers to enter the tent was a huge personal achievement.’

Pictured is 'star baker' Steven's illusion cake in the shape of a BLT sandwich and loaf of bread, described by Leith as 'absolutely astonishing'

Pictured is ‘star baker’ Steven’s illusion cake in the shape of a BLT sandwich and loaf of bread, described by Leith as ‘absolutely astonishing’

The showstopper challenge to create an illusion cake was described by Hollywood as 'the most complex showstopper challenge ever set in the first week of Bake Off.'

The showstopper challenge to create an illusion cake was described by Hollywood as ‘the most complex showstopper challenge ever set in the first week of Bake Off.’

Pictured is Flo's watermelon illusion cake which the judges were extremely impressed with

Pictured is Flo’s watermelon illusion cake which the judges were extremely impressed with

During the episode the amateur bakers were tasked with a signature challenge of a family-sized cake using fresh fruit before a technical challenge of 12 chocolate covered mini rolls.

The showstopper challenge to create an illusion cake was described by Hollywood as ‘the most complex showstopper challenge ever set in the first week of Bake Off’.

Contestant Steven’s bonfire night cake with toffee apples, his proficient mini rolls and illusion cake in the shape of a BLT sandwich and loaf of bread, described by Leith as ‘absolutely astonishing’, landed him the title of star baker. 

Now that’s a showstopper! The Great British Bake Off is back on Channel 4 with all its crazy creations which ARE really cakes

By Laura Lambert, TV and Radio Reporter, for The Daily Mail  

They are creations that would not look out of place in the final of The Great British Bake Off.

Yet these extraordinarily convincing ‘illusion cakes’, made to look like a BLT sandwich, a watermelon, a stack of pancakes and a bowl of noodles, were crafted during last night’s first episode of the new series.

The fiendish task was billed as the ‘hardest first showstopper’ ever to be set on the hit baking show – which has moved to Channel 4 – and was always going to sort the wheat from the chaff.

And the triumphs of deception and baking competence were certainly matched by disasters, in the form of a black clutch bag and a loaf of bread with a snapped knife.

Marketing executive Steven was crowned the first star baker for his bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich

Marketing executive Steven was crowned the first star baker for his bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich

Merseyside grandmother Flo, 71, made a watermelon cake that would not look out of place in a greengrocer’s

Merseyside grandmother Flo, 71, made a watermelon cake that would not look out of place in a greengrocer’s

And 19-year-old student Liam, from North London, wowed with his fake pancakes

And 19-year-old student Liam, from North London, wowed with his fake pancakes

Indeed, while marketing executive Steven was crowned the first star baker for his bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, the challenge proved the undoing of IT manager Peter.

The 52-year-old had earlier finished bottom of the technical challenge when piping the wrong type of chocolate on his mini-rolls, and was then doomed when the sugar knife for his bread broke.

Nevertheless, the show’s return was met with a positive reaction from fans, who commented that it had barely changed in moving from the BBC.

One aspect that was strikingly similar to the corporation’s version was the prevalence of innuendos, including mentions of ‘bare bottoms’, ‘a nice pair’ and even a ‘moist clutch’.

At one point, ex-Army officer Sophie unintentionally produced a phallic moment, when moulding the shaft of her fondant icing champagne bottle.

Following Paul Hollywood’s bold claim that this year’s contestants were the best bakers ever to grace the tent, Steven threw down the gauntlet with his ‘Baker’s Lunch’ cake.

Hollywood said: ‘The standard of the show is so high, but unfortunately it was Peter’s turn to go.’

Hollywood said: ‘The standard of the show is so high, but unfortunately it was Peter’s turn to go.’

Health and safety inspector Kate, 19, from Liverpool, failed her test with the Greenhouse cake

Health and safety inspector Kate, 19, from Liverpool, failed her test with the Greenhouse cake

Former teacher Stacey, 42, from Hertforshire, didn't get pass marks for this clutch bag cake

Former teacher Stacey, 42, from Hertforshire, didn’t get pass marks for this clutch bag cake

Indeed, both Hollywood and his new co-judge Prue Leith, who has replaced Mary Berry, looked taken aback at the creation, describing it as ‘stunning’ and ‘perfect’.

Such was the level of trickery that Miss Leith – who was not afraid to show her formidable side when faced with below-par cakes – commented: ‘You wouldn’t think it wasn’t bread.’

Meanwhile, Merseyside grandmother Flo, 71, made a watermelon cake that would not look out of place in a greengrocer’s, and 19-year-old student Liam wowed with his fake pancakes.

Molecular biologist Yan, who works for the NHS, demonstrated her ability with her Asian-inspired dish, featuring fondant icing noodles and chicken ramen made from Rice Krispies.

It was not the first time Stacey, a stay-at-home mother, had faltered – earlier in the episode she resorted to throwing her cake in the bin

It was not the first time Stacey, a stay-at-home mother, had faltered – earlier in the episode she resorted to throwing her cake in the bin

Using her noodle: NHS worker Yan's cake has an Asia inspiration

Using her noodle: NHS worker Yan’s cake has an Asia inspiration

However, at the opposite end of the leader-board, ex-school teacher Stacey left the judges stumped with her black clutch bag cake.

Miss Leith said: ‘I am not certain I would know it was a handbag’, while Hollywood said: ‘It looks like a decorated cake rather than a handbag.’

It was not the first time Stacey, a stay-at-home mother, had faltered – earlier in the episode she resorted to throwing her cake in the bin.

In an earlier round, Yan also threw her first attempt at an apple crumble cake in the bin, before starting again.

Speaking about becoming the first baker to leave the tent, Peter said: ‘I’m disappointed to be the first off, but it has been a lovely experience throughout. It was quite surreal from day one, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. All of the bakers are my friends now, and they are amazing in their own way. They are a wonderful bunch and I will be watching them throughout.’

Hollywood said: ‘The standard of the show is so high, but unfortunately it was Peter’s turn to go.’

Last week Channel 4’s outgoing chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, said the show would need to be watched by 3million people for the broadcaster to break even. The broadcaster spent a reported £75million on a three-year contract for the show, which aired for seven series on the BBC. 

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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