Great British Bake Off episode becomes most watched Channel 4 TV show since 1985

Ratings for the launch episode of the latest series of The Great British Bake Off were the biggest for any programme – excluding films – to be shown on Channel 4 since 1985.

According to the broadcaster, consolidated viewing figures for the series 11 debut were 10.8 million.

It was also the biggest overnight launch audience for the series since its move from the BBC, with overnight ratings averaging 6.9 million viewers.

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The TV premiere of the film Four Weddings And A Funeral on Channel 4 in 1995 attracted a higher audience of 12.4 million.

The biggest-ever audience in Channel 4’s history remains 13.9 million, which was for the mini-series A Woman Of Substance in 1985.

The first episode of the new Bake Off series saw Matt Lucas make his debut on the programme as he replaced previous co-host Sandi Toksvig.

The episode, which started later than originally scheduled to avoid a clash with an address to the nation about coronavirus from the Prime Minister, opened with a skit which featured Lucas impersonating Boris Johnson.

Welcome to a new series of The Great British Bake Off – and a big hello to our new presenter Matt Lucas!

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 22, 2020

The Little Britain star, 46, appeared wearing a blonde wig and stood at a lectern featuring the slogan: “Stay Alert, Bake Cake, Save Loaves.”

Last week, Loriea, 27, a diagnostic radiographer from Durham, became the first amateur baker to be axed from the competition.

On Tuesday, Mak, 50, an accountant from Greater Manchester, was also eliminated after failing to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Production of the 11th series was initially delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but filming finished near the end of August.

The bakers, presenters and others working on the programme formed a “bubble” in Down Hall Hotel near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, throughout the duration of filming, after being tested for the virus and self-isolating.