Bake Off drama sours as BBC and Channel 4 bosses engage in public spat over move
The Great British Bake off move has sparked a bad-tempered public row between the BBC and Channel 4.
James Purnell, the BBC’s director of strategy, told the Royal Television Society conference in London that viewers were “extremely saddened that they’re not going to have something they absolutely love” with the show's £75 million poaching from Channel 4.
He said that the station's acquisition of Bake Off had given more ammunition to those who wish to privatise the British state-owned broadcaster.
“You’re going to have your own take on it, but I think something really, really precious will be lost,” he said, adding that Channel 4 had “given ammunition to the people who want to privatise Channel 4″.
Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, responded by saying Mr Purnell's call for curbs on Channel 4 are "slightly amazing" and accused him of feeling “aggrieved” over the loss of Bake Off, which she said had left the BBC after the collapse of the corporation’s relationship with the production company that owns the format.
The relationship between the BBC and the show’s creators, Love Productions, is said to have deteriorated over budget rows and accusations that the corporation had used its format for other shows.
“I understand how painful it is to lose franchises, but let’s be utterly clear: this is an independent producer who, after three years of an increasingly dysfunctional relationship, decided they would no longer make the show for you,” the Channel 4 boss said.
She added: "I appreciate that’s very painful, but if I was sitting at the BBC, I’d be thinking quite long and hard about how that situation had arisen.”