Great British Bake Off brands BBC bullies
21 November 2018 - 11:00 AM

Great British Bake Off brands BBC bullies

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The creator of "The Great British Bake Off" claims the show "would have died" if it hadn't moved to Channel 4.

The popular baking contest spent seven years on the BBC before changing broadcasters in 2006 and Richard McKerrow has accused network executives of "bullying" production company Love Productions.

Speaking at Leeds Trinity University, he said: "I say we simply did it to protect the format. We took it to the one place which would protect the format, Channel 4, which is another public service broadcaster.

"It kept it free to air and I trusted them and knew they would look after it."

Richard claims his relationship with the BBC started to "deteriorate" due to tension over the broadcaster's in-house shows "Hair" and "The Big Painting Challenge" because Love Productions felt they were similar to the "GBBO" format and hit out at the "arrogance" of the network.

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He said of the 2015 series: "By now we had security and god knows what else yet we were paid three quarters of the amount we got for the first series. "I think that unfortunately broadcasters bully independent producers and the BBC is the biggest bully of all and I don't think that is healthy for the industry. I felt bullied.

"There's an arrogance that the BBC has that is not good for the industry."

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He also felt his relationship with judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins was "undermined" by the BBC.

He added: "It was increasingly dysfunctional."

When the programme moved to Channel 4, only Paul opted too stay on and though Richard admitted it was "difficult", he and his team knew the true "talents" on the show are the contestants.

He said: "We would have liked all of the talent to come with us. It was very difficult. But we also knew in our heart what we say about the show, love the bakers, love the baking. They are the talent which isn't to say Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and Prue Leith aren't brilliant and fantastic at what they do."

And the producer enlisted his eight-year-old daughter to help choose Mary's replacement, and was surprised when she chose Prue Leith.

He said: "I thought she was going to choose the young blonde judge but she said she was trying too hard, "but Prue Leith is really good, she sounds like she knows what she is talking about." "

The "Great British Bake Off" is now hosted by Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig.

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