'Great British Bake Off' Ends BBC Run With Its Highest Ratings Ever

The Great British Bake Off - H 2012

The baking competition, which is moving to Channel 4, averaged 14 million viewers with its season seven finale, cementing its status as Britain's most watched show.

Baking competition The Great British Bake Off drew its highest overnight ratings ever with the final episode of its seventh season, its last on the BBC, on Wednesday night, becoming the most watched program of 2016 in the U.K.

The episode averaged 14.0 million viewers, according to overnight data released by BBC representatives on Thursday. The audience peaked with 14.8 million viewers.

Last year's finale had averaged 13.4 million viewers and peaked with 14.5 million.

A modest hit when it premiered in 2010 on BBC Two, the good-natured competition show was later moved to flagship channel BBC One and now ranks among the biggest shows in U.K. history. Last year's season saw the final episode become the most watched program of 2015 in Britain.

Channel 4 earlier this year announced a three-year deal for the show, estimated by some to be worth 75 million pounds ($99 million), snatching it from public broadcaster BBC and causing much debate. The move is effective following the end of season seven. Channel 4 said the first Bake Off content planned is a celebrity version of the show in 2017 from production firm Love Productions.

Hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc immediately said that they would quit the show when it leaves the BBC. The Great British Bake Off will also lose judge Mary Berry, but fellow judge Paul Hollywood will continue on the show for three seasons under a deal reached with Channel 4.

The BBC is developing possible new shows with Berry, Perkins and Giedroyc.