Channel 4 bowled over with showstopping deal for The Great British Bake Off

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The Great British Bake Off is moving to Channel 4.

The channel will be the new home of the popular baking show after it signed a new three-year agreement with the programme's producers, Love Productions.

Under the new partnership the multi-award winning show will remain on free-to-air television.

The first Bake Off programme set to be broadcast on Channel 4 will be a celebrity version of the show in 2017, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.

The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off (BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)

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."

The news comes shortly after it was announced that the BBC had lost its contract to broadcast the show, which features judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation would love to have kept the baking programme but that they were "a considerable distance apart on the money".

Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc (Mark Bourdillon/BBC)
Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc (Mark Bourdillon/BBC)

The spokesperson said: "The BBC's resources are not infinite. GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme.

"We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC One."

There have long been rumours that ITV was lining up to poach the series when the current contract with the BBC was up.

Last year's Bake Off final was the most-watched show of 2015, with 15.1 million people seeing Nadiya Hussain crowned champion.

The return of the show in August set an audience record, as 10.4 million people tuned in for the first episode of the seventh series.

The programme, currently airing on BBC One on Wednesday evenings, is hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.