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BBC loses broadcast rights for The Great British Bake Off

Photo: PBS

Watching an episode of The Great British Bake Off (or The Great British Baking Show, if you’re in the U.S.) has therapeutic properties roughly equivalent to sipping a cup of chamomile tea while a kindly older woman prepares lemon scones and hums softly to herself in the next room, which makes it a perfect fit for public television. Here in the U.S., the show is broadcast on PBS in cooperation with its U.K. equivalent, BBC One. But the second part of that equation is about to change, as the BBC itself reports that it’s lost the broadcasting rights for the show.

After its seventh season, currently airing on BBC One, The Great British Bake Off will be shown on Channel Four in the U.K., a change that will mean the addition of commercial breaks to the show. (While they’re both owned by the British government, Channel Four depends on advertising for revenue, while the BBC is funded by a mandatory licensing fee on British households with TVs.) Channel Four reportedly bested the BBC‘s offer in a hotly contested bid for the show, which Variety reports was the most-watched series in the U.K. last year. BBC representatives seemed disappointed with the loss, with one calling The Great British Bake Off a “quintessentially BBC program.”


The Great British Bake Off will still be free to watch in the U.K., albeit with commercials, when it moves to Channel Four with Celebrity Bake Off in 2017. How this will affect its airing in the U.S. is unknown, but for the moment, the first season is available to watch on Netflix until October 1.

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