Wednesday 21 August 2019

Bake Off to continue in 26 countries as BBC Worldwide hold on to overseas rights

Producers from around the world shared their adaptations of the show at a Creative Exchange event.

Bake Off Creative Exchange.
Bake Off Creative Exchange.

By Francesca Gosling

The Great Bake Off will continue to air on screens in 26 foreign countries as BBC Worldwide oversees international versions of the much-loved UK show.

Although The Great British Bake Off moved to Channel 4 last year, BBC Worldwide still holds the international format rights to the show and sells previous series of the BBC version abroad – including the recent Channel 4 debut.

The show’s creator at Love Productions, Richard McKerrow, said he never imagined that the baking show would have a global impact and said the company aimed to balance the original format with a “local element” in each international series.

Richard McKerrow.

His comments came as he spoke at a BBC Worldwide Creative Exchange event on Friday, attended by Bake Off producers from around the world.

He said: “I didn’t imagine it would be such a hit, you always hope you’ll make a great programme, of course you want it to be ground-breaking and brilliant.

“In our case we’d like to do programmes that make a difference or change the world, but hand on heart we didn’t see that the Great British Bake Off would be one of those programmes. It has real heart, real soul.”

Speaking of the show’s foreign counterparts, he continued: “You see an absolute passion to bake, and baking is not simple – it’s a kind of science.

“Bakers are doing it for themselves, but they’re ultimately doing it for other people, because that’s the end result they care about and sharing it with family and friends.”

McKerrow met Bake Off producers from around the world.

“It’s fantastic when the format gets picked up by a new country. There are certain beats it’s important to keep but it’s also important to keep the local element you see, because every country has their own baking culture.”

The Italian Bake Off’s producers, Nicole Morganti and Giovanni Bossetti, said of their show: “For (our) external challenges, we do something different where we take bakers away from the tent three times in a series and learn how to bake in a different part of Italy.

“We are also ramping up the themes – every episode there is a theme – and we also did something where we invited a very famous Italian writer along and she asked the contestants to bake a cake with a story behind it.

“The Divine Comedy theme for example (from Italian literature) was fantastic because localisation like that – something you study at school and what’s part of the culture – is part of your DNA, it relates to the audience.”

Denmark’s Soren Olsen added: “We really focus on different themes, such as weekend baking, travelling around the world, or another theme could be love.

“Another thing we do differently is we start with only 10 bakers so we have more time to get to know them and the character. We try to challenge the format a little bit more… We want to surprise the audience all the time.”

PA Media

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