Channel 4’s Bake Off debut becomes broadcaster's highest rating show in five years

Channel 4’s Bake Off debut exceeds expectations with 6.5m average viewers

Channel 4’s debut of the Great British Bake Off pulled in more than double the ratings creative chief Jay Hunt said the show needed to break even with 6.5 million average viewers - the broadcaster's biggest overnight performance in five years.

What's more, the return of the popular baking format marks the largest share of young audiences the broadcaster has had for a show in over a decade.

The show, now on its eight series, peaked with 7.7 million viewers and a 34.6% share of audience. It was the most popular programme in the 8 to 9.15pm slot for all viewers.

It pulled in Channel 4's best ratings in five years - the last time being the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in August 2012.

The figures still pale in comparison to the show's heyday under the BBC brand, which hit peak audiences of 14.8 million in the final season.

However, it's a marked improvement from the 3 million plus that Hunt - who was responsible for poaching the show from the BBC - said she would be "delighted" with last week while speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

Commenting on the ratings, Hunt said: "The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows. I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces."

The broadcaster paid £75m for the show in a three-year deal.

The revival of the popular baking show under Channel 4 ownership marks the first time the show has featured advertising, and viewers weren't too happy.

One user even suggested that Channel 4's version of Bake Off is the British advertising equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Baking brands Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Dr Oetkerwill jointly backed the full first season to the tune of £4m.

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Jessica Goodfellow

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