The BBC has lost the broadcast rights to The Great British Bake Off after the company behind the baking programme broke off talks to renew their contract, with Channel 4 the new home for the show.
The current series of the hugely popular programme will be the last to air on the BBC after Love Productions, which makes the programme, revealed that it had been "unable to reach agreement on terms to renew the commission of The Great British Bake Off".
Negotiations dragged on for more than a year but drew to an unsuccessful conclusion for the BBC today (12 September) when Love Productions announced that both parties were unable to agree on a reasonable valuation for the series.
The popularity of the show, starring Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, means it could be worth as much as £20m a year to a commercial broadcaster.
In an email to its staff, Love Productions said: "We are writing to let you all know that, with deep regret, after more than a year of exhaustive negotiations we have been unable to reach an agreement with the BBC for the renewal of The Great British Bake Off.
"We feel it is very important to let you all know as soon as possible because there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting in the media about the negotiations and we want you to be aware of the main facts.
"We are really saddened by this outcome because we always wanted to stay on the BBC. As recently as June we were convinced that was what would happen. This has never been about who might write the biggest cheque, but about where we can find the best home for Bake Off.
"Unfortunately we were unable to agree either a fair valuation, and nor were the BBC able to provide the necessary comfort for the future protection of such a distinctive and much-loved television series."
The statement continued: “After an extraordinary six-year journey with the BBC, Love Productions announces with regret that it has been unable to reach agreement on terms to renew the commission of The Great British Bake Off.
"We will now be focusing on finding a new partner to develop the familiar show that the British public turn to in their millions. Love Productions would like to thank the BBC for the role it played in making this show such an enormous hit, and the faith they showed in us over the years to develop it.”
Jay Hunt, Channel 4's Chief Creative Officer said: "Channel 4 is very proud to be the new home for The Great British Bake Off. I'm delighted we have been able to partner with the hugely talented team at Love Productions to keep this much loved show on free-to-air television."
Richard McKerrow, Love Productions Creative Director said: "We believe we've found the perfect new home for Bake Off. It's a public service, free-to-air broadcaster for whom Love Productions have produced high quality and highly successful programmes for more than a decade.
"It's tremendously exciting to have found a broadcaster who we know will protect and nurture The Great British Bake Off for many years to come."