The Great British Bake Off is to move from the BBC to Channel 4 from the next series on, after producer of the show Love Productions signed a new three-year agreement with the broadcasting company.

The multi-award winning show will remain on free-to-air television.

The first Bake Off programming on Channel 4 will be a celebrity version of the show in 2017, in aid of Stand Up to Cancer.

According to media reports, the BBC had indicated that financial demands made by Love Productions had made the show “unaffordable”. The launch episode of series seven drew in a record audience of 10 million viewers, the largest yet for the show.

A statement from the BBC press office said: “Working with Love Productions we have grown and nurtured the programme over seven series and created the huge hit it is today.

“We made a very strong offer to keep the show, but we are a considerable distance apart on the money. The BBC’s resources are not infinite.

GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme. We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC One.”

The show’s judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, along with presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, are not necessarily part of the switch although Love Productions is said to have indicated that it would be keen to retain them on the new channel.

Jay Hunt, chief creative officer at Channel 4, said: “Channel 4 is very proud to be the new home for The Great British Bake Off. I’m delighted we have been able to partner with the hugely talented team at Love Productions to keep this much-loved show on free-to-air television.”

Richard McKerrow, creative director at Love Productions, added: “We believe we’ve found the perfect new home for Bake Off. It’s a public service, free-to-air broadcaster for whom Love Productions have produced high-quality and highly successful programmes for more than a decade.

“It’s tremendously exciting to have found a broadcaster who we know will protect and nurture The Great British Bake Off for many years to come.”

Public reaction on twitter to the switch has been mixed, with some viewers clearly dismayed that the show will now be interrupted by advertising. For example, Andy Castell  @AJ3 said: “Great British Bakeoff has been bought by Channel 4... Ad breaks, sponsors and manufactured drama? I’ll pass thanks”.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Moran @caitlinmoran pointed out: “I don’t understand the decision to take Great British Bake Off off the BBC. How can it do better than being THE BIGGEST SHOW ON TV? Insanity.”

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