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BBC Moves Hit Show 'The Great British Bake Off' to Flagship Network

The Great British Bake Off - H 2012
"The Great British Bake Off"

The ratings juggernaut will transfer from BBC Two to BBC One, Britain's most-watched TV channel, for its fifth season next year, the U.K. public broadcaster says.

LONDON – The BBC said Tuesday that it will move hit baking competition show The Great British Bake Off from BBC Two to flagship TV channel BBC One next season.
   
Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, announced the rare move on Tuesday, saying it would take effect with the ratings juggernaut's fifth season.

The show features amateur bakers whose work is judged by experts. It has been credited with boosting interest in baking across Britain.
 
Industry chatter about a potential move of the show, which was launched in 2010, to Britain's most-watched network made its rounds earlier this year. Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two, signaled at the Edinburgh TV Festival this summer that she wouldn't oppose the move, saying that its ratings were more in line with a hit on the lead network of the U.K. public broadcaster.

Over its four seasons, the show has grown in popularity to draw record ratings. "Widely credited with reinvigorating baking throughout the U.K., the series is currently the [highest-rated] on BBC Two this year, so far averaging 7 million (27.7 percent) share," the BBC said. A peak audience of 7.2 million tuned in to watch last year’s final.

"I've championed The Great British Bake Off from the very start and believe the time is absolutely right to bring the show to an even broader audience on BBC One," said Moore. "I’ve watched the series grow over the last few years and earn a special place in the nation’s hearts. It’s inspiring and warm storytelling at its best, which celebrates the huge talent of enthusiastic and passionate bakers from all over the country."

Moore was responsible for originally ordering the show in 2009 in her previous role as commissioning editor of documentaries alongside Hadlow.

"BBC Two has enjoyed great success this year with standout hits including The Wrong Mans, The Fall and Line of Duty," Hadlow said. "I’m so proud to have helped build The Great British Bake Off into one of the most popular series of recent years, and although I'm sad to see it leave BBC Two, I wish the series all the very best in its new home."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai