In what may be the classiest move in television network history, BBC have waived their right to force Channel 4 to hold off on the broadcast of The Great British Baking Show—or The Great British Bake-Off, as it’s known in the U.K.—until 2018. This means that presenter Paul Hollywood will be returning with the acclaimed baking show at some point in 2017. Per The Guardian, a spokesperson for BBC elaborated in a statement:
We don’t want to get in the way of them reinventing the programme. In this instance, we believe it would be undignified to have one public service broadcaster in a potential dispute with another and the associated costs for each party would ultimately come out of programming budgets. We don’t believe in driving up costs in the public sector. We wish the programme well for the future and look forward to seeing who is cast on the show. The BBC is proud of the part it has played in growing and nurturing the programme—doing that is at the core of what the BBC does. We have many exciting projects for the future. Watch this space.
The Great British Bake-Off is a baking competition show that pits about 12 amateur bakers against each other in weekly challenges that stretch and test their skills in a variety of ways. Each week, one of the bakers is named “Star Baker,” while they send the least impressive baker home. It’s a lovely show that, unlike much of American television, shows the camaraderie and unity that a gentle competition can bring. There are no “villains” to create drama or violent assaults that result in elimination. It’s just good-hearted and friendly, which is something we could desperately use in the era of shows like The Bachelor.
Part of what makes this whole situation heartwarming is that it’s very similar to the views and values that make the show so delightful. BBC lost the program to a competitor, and are in turn releasing control of the property as a sign of good faith in the new directions that Channel 4 could take it.
Unfortunately, Paul Hollywood (yep, real name) is the only original presenter returning, as Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and Mary Berry (also her real name) have all declined to move forward to the new network. Berry commented on her decision in a statement to the BBC, saying, “I’m delighted to stay with the BBC and I’ve got all sorts of exciting projects I’m looking forward to doing.” While the team-up of these four was part of what made the show work so well, Hollywood will surely find good people to replace them.
Check out Paste’s recent piece on throwing a GBBO dinner party here, and find Paste contributor Amy McCarthy’s argument for why GBBO is the best cooking show of all time here.