'Great British Bake Off' Judge to Quit When Show Moves From BBC to Channel 4

The Hollywood Reporter

The Great British Bake Off will also lose judge Mary Berry when the U.K. ratings hit moves from the BBC to Channel 4 after the end of the current season.

The BBC announced the news after Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc previously said that they would quit as hosts of the show. They had all been known to prefer having the show stay with the BBC.

There was no immediate word on the future of fellow judge Paul Hollywood who, like Berry, has been understood to have been in talks with Channel 4.

"What a privilege and honor it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent - The Great British Bake Off," Berry said in a statement issued by the BBC. "The Bake Off family - Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter."

She explained: "My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision. I wish the program, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms."

Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, said: "Mary is an extraordinary woman, loved and adored by the British public, and the BBC is her natural home. I've been very lucky to have had the pleasure of working with Mary over the last seven years and I'm so pleased that relationship will continue. She is an inspiration to generations, a real icon and I can't wait to cook up more unmissable shows with her in the future."

Read more: Half of U.K. TVs Tuning Into British Baking Show as ABC Renews American Edition

"We were very shocked and saddened" to learn that Bake Off would be moving, the hosts had said when they announced their departure. "We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was." They concluded: "We're not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success."

Channel 4 had announced a three-year deal for the show, estimated by some to be worth $99 million (75 million pounds). It said the first Bake Off content planned is a celebrity version of the show in 2017.

But the departure of much of the on-air team raises major questions about the future of the franchise.

A modest hit when it premiered in 2010 on BBC Two, the show was later moved to flagship channel BBC One and now ranks among the biggest shows in U.K. history.

The good-natured cooking competition (known, due to copyright issues, as The Great British Baking Show in the U.S.) returned for its seventh season on Aug. 24, drawing a whopping 10.4 million live viewers for a 47.5 share. That means nearly half of British TVs on during the hour were tuned in. That was a bigger percentage than the Rio Olympics. Nothing, save the Super Bowl (a 73 share) and the NFL conference championship games match that level of saturation with U.S. audiences. The Oscars and NBC's most-watched night of Olympics coverage couldn't reach a 40 share.

The show is produced by Love Productions, controlled by pan-European pay TV giant Sky, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake.

Read more: U.K. Ratings Juggernaut 'Great British Bake Off' to Move From BBC to Channel 4