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.