I am not a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off but last night, possibly for the first time, I watched an episode all the way through. Being only a part-time viewer of the show I didn’t appreciate fully until yesterday quite how much Mel and Sue contribute to the show. I know the show is about baking and obviously the judges are pivotal to the ultimate outcome of the competition but a hugely disproportionate percentage of the entertainment value is down to the aforementioned hosts.
So this begs the question: Have television production companies not learned anything from the Top Gear saga? You can keep the format of a show and parachute in new personalities but if the show was dependent on its presenters you’re in big trouble. Top Gear’s success, it would appear, wasn’t based on the format at all – it was, almost exclusively, down to the interaction and contributions of Clarkson, Hammond and May.
So Channel 4 have bought a format without first ensuring that all the current presenters and judges were prepared to come with it. It’s a much used ‘joke’ that I’ve seen quoted on the Internet but without Mel and Sue I seriously believe that all they’ve got for their reported millions is an empty tent. Good luck with that!