Bake Off Blues

It has been a day of deep seated Bake Off gloom in this house.

So the news is that the rights to Bake Off have been sold off to the highest bidder.

Given that the BBC are under public scrutiny and having its cojones squeezed by the government, they were never going to be the highest bidder.

I find it fascinating how many people on comments boards vent their spleen about the BBC being some massive conspiratorial power base, intent on the corruption of citizens, and doing evil. They screen Poldark for goodness sakes. They have Monty Don and Nigel Slater. They did have Bake Off. It cannot be that evil.

It smacks to me of Thatcher smashing the unions in the Eighties, and begs the question why anyone is surprised at the behaviour of companies like Sports Direct, the rise in zero hours contracts and a business culture where people are overworked, undervalued and expendable.

When the BBC is full of repeats of Are You Being Served, footage of potter’s wheels and five hours of the test card, don’t come crying to me. If they are going to make quality programming, they need the money to do it. Is the licence fee too much to pay if you are a telly watching kind of person? Bear in mind here that I am not. I watch approximately four hours of television a month, and I still pay the licence fee. Although I listen to a lot of Radio Four, so I definitely get my money’s worth. (Yay! Go Helen. Boo Rob.)

The licence fee costs £145.00 a year, that’s per household, not per person, and with that princely sum, the BBC are responsible for some of the finest television and radio programmes in the world.

And yet, on the comments boards I’ve seen so far, the anti Beeb lobby are now complaining that the BBC have been careless enough to ‘lose’ Bake Off.

Yes, they lost it, because they couldn’t afford to keep it, which is crap at all sorts of levels.

The company that makes Bake Off, ironically called ‘Love Productions’, said yesterday that  the breakdown in negotiations with the BBC wasn’t about the money, it was about the principle of things.

I thought I was pretty clear on the definition of principles. It turns out I was wrong.

I gather that being ‘principled’ actually means asking four times the going rate for the programme and defecting to Channel Four when the BBC can’t meet the figure.

Principles also means wanting  to be able to brand everything in the tent, including the presenters so that they can leverage profits through product placement.

It was a bit of an Inigo Montoya moment, although it shouldn’t have been entirely unexpected, given that Love Productions is primarily owned by Sky, which is primarily owned by Rupert Murdoch, who hates the BBC about as much as he hates the UK being in the EU.

He’s having a good year then.

Thankfully some people actually have real principles, as shown by Mel and Sue who will not be selling out, and who will be leaving the programme when it defects. Although I am devastated, I could not be prouder of them than if they were my own children.

All eyes are now on Paul and Mary. If Mary lets me down I think I shall lose all faith in the human race entirely.

No pressure, Mary. As far as Paul is concerned, I’m keeping my powder dry.

In times of crisis, (which has been the entirety of 2016 to date), people need something to comfort them. If you’re me, you need something simple, that hasn’t been filmed in the dark with a banging techno sound track. You need lovely, non-snarky programming, with no glitter boob tubes and a lot of cake. Also biscuits. Possibly pies, crumbles and other puddings.

Bake Off has always been my televisual comfort blanket. It has, right from the very start, been an absolute joy to watch. Through Bake Off I have genuinely made new friends, including actual people from real Bake Off (thank you Brendan), made, been given and eaten delicious cakes and learned how not to have all my fruit sink to the bottom in fruit cakes. I have discovered dampfnudel and the difference between a macaron and a macaroon. I have had my brow soothed and my heart uplifted, and I shall miss it so very, very much.

I’m writing this here, because tomorrow is Bake Off day, and I do not want to sully the rest of this season with sadness, nor hijack my weekly blog update with subliminal messages to wee in Rupert Murdoch’s tea.

Better out than in, as my granny used to say.

Bake Off I will miss you, but I’m gonna party hard for the next six weeks. It will be cakes all the way down.


26 responses to “Bake Off Blues

  1. What I find telling is the fact that apparently it will be ok to lose viewers, as it will still make money. Good to know we don’t matter. They’ll have lost me.

  2. Well said Katy! The BBC is under threat from this government and indeed past governments. The likes of Murdoch are out to kill it as they can’t stand it making good popular programmes without worshiping the commercial sector. Free to air TV and indeed radio are seen as one of the best things about Britain, which is why it is being attacked by those who want to “dumb down” our viewing choices tomturn us all into unthinking zombies who will vote Tory for the test of our lives! GBBO RIP with C4. Big mistake!

  3. Well said, Katy. As always you hit the nail on the head and drove it right into the plank! I will miss Bake Off (I don’t think I can bear to see what it will become 😦 )

  4. I am so there with you. When I found out about Love Productions wanting so much money, I wondered who the hell they were, then surprise surprise, I found out they were part of the Murdoch shitshow. I don’t normally wish for people to fail, but in this case I hope the new Bake Off fails miserably. With the pressure to earn back that £15 million, you can bet there will be more product placement, more antagonism between the contestants (mostly manufactured), and perhaps even sparring between Mary and Paul (or whoever replaces them). It won’t be the same, and I shall be very sorry indeed to lose it.
    And thank you for standing up for the BBC. They are rubbished far too much, especially considering everything they do that is good and fair.

  5. Oops, I mean £25 million. Even worse!! Greedy f*ckers.

  6. As always, when talking about the Bake Off – That’s exactly what I was going to say!

  7. We (yes my ‘non baking’ husband is the other half of ‘we’) will be boycotting TGBBO in whatever form it takes on Channel 4. Shame on you Love/Hate Productions. May your bread and biscuits burn, you soufflés sink and your macarons ming! 😓🍪😱🎂😡🍰😷

  8. Great post, Katy! Love Productions sound like many other telly production companies… Groups of excited school boys (they’re all schoolboys no matter what their age or sex) all about making bags of money through re-hashed (forgive the pun) formats to buy their new beemers. I hope they get the come-uppance they deserve. I’m out of the baking world now – and the TV world too thank God – but did have the pleasure of sitting next to Mary for lunch at the first ever Leicester Food Festival a few years ago (pre-Bake-Off-days) and she was delightful :). Sad for her to be associated with this greedy farce.

  9. I will start by confessing I do not watch Bake Off – please don’t judge me 😉 Like you I watch very little TV but when I do it will most likely be BBC 2 or BBC 4 and feature an earnest, if slightly eccentric, individual telling us stuff. Or my house porn as Colin calls it (we all have our foibles).
    I know there are some excellent dramas (many of them also by the BBC) but we usually miss so many episodes that we give up on them.

    I have an anathema for almost all reality style TV, the exception being anything that features houses; if they are building, renovating, decorating, relocating, buying, selling etc, etc I will put up with any amount of crap. I did draw the line at some ghastly programme where four people visited each others’ houses and then bitched about them though.
    On the odd time I have caught a bit of Bake Off I have enjoyed it, particularly Mel and Sue, and can clearly see it is a cut above the usual ‘let’s put a group of people in competition with each other and see how badly we can get them to behave so we can judge them’ format. I think the same probably goes for Strictly, which I expect the BBC will also lose imminently.

    And that, I think, is the point, if someone had pitched either programme to a commercial TV channel they would have been unlikely to take the risk. Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity were the models that guaranteed audiences and they have to go with the money. Once Aunty Beeb has made a surprise success out of a programme, then they will start to produce similar series (or just buy the original) either way the BBC enriches the output of other channels.

    As far as BBC bias is concerned, I feel it is just a big stick the government and other critics use to beat them with. I read with incredulity comments from tories that it is ‘left wing’ when Jeremy Corbyn generally gets a worse press than Rasputin.
    It is impossible for any broadcaster to be entirely impartial because it is run by people and they have opinions, but I think if you compare it to say, anything owned by Murdoch, it does a pretty good job.
    What most of these people are objecting to is those instances where it highlights something that they would rather not be made public or challenges their existing views, which is surely what the BBC should be doing.
    At least they are, to some degree, accountable and there are procedures in place to try to ensure fairness and balance.

    • I used to have a total obsession with house porn. Favourites being anything with Kevin McCloud who I love, and then Sarah Beeny but most things except Homes Under the Hammer. x

  10. Just as a point of order, the Murdoch Mafioso own 37% of Sky, which in turn owns 70% of Love Productions.

    I shall watch tonight’s episode when I return from choir practice (this is starting to sound desperately middle class) with a pang, because I doubt I will ever watch it on C4, much as I actually love C4.

  11. Pingback: The Slow Death of a British Institution. | The Night Owl

  12. Once again you’ve put into words, so eloquently, all that I feel about the Beeb, Murdoch, and TGBBO!

    I’ve linked your post on my Blog:

  13. Still wish Brendan had won his year…..he was an absolute joy.

  14. Next week’s Radio Times arrived this morning & the editor wants people to write in to say what it is they like about Bake Off and what C4 must do to keep fans watching, all of which they will then pass on to C4. On the letters page, Jay Hunt, C4 controller (or some such) claims to love it and want to preserve it. However, to me the clinching argument comes from Alison Graham’s column (I pretty much always agree with her) in which she points out how the mere fact of being on commercial TV will alter the show beyond recognition. This is where I am too. Even if Mel & Sue were not leaving – an irreparable disaster – and the whole shebang transferred intact, complete with tent & squirrels with huge bollocks, simply sticking ad breaks in chops the programme up and turns it into something different. Make it run for over an hour to keep the amount of content, don’t shoehorn in fake drama going into an ad break and a recap after – all that would be great, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Just having those breaks changes Bake Off because it breaks up the mood. I daresay it runs in other countries like this, but it doesn’t here, and that’s all we’ve known. The ONLY thing that might help would be if C4 ran it for an hour with no breaks. Somehow I don’t see Jay Hunt arranging that, no matter how much she loves the show.

    So, no more Bake Off for me, not even if C4 try to tempt people by making the first run a celeb one with a charity angle. Sad.

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