Last week, Love Productions announced that they would be moving Bake Off to Channel 4, who had bid 75 million – 20 million more than the BBC could – for the rights to broadcast the hit show.
This didn’t exactly thrill fans – who foresaw a “Naked Celebrity Bake Off Benefits Island” replacing the quintessentially British, oh-so charming show that we know and love – and things took a turn for the worse when presenters Mel and Sue announced that they would be leaving.
Bake Offwould have been a wildly different show without their influence, as evidenced by this anecdote, published in Eater:
“Heres something you might not know about Mel and Sue: they nearly quit once before. Last year, while promoting her memoir, Sue revealed that she and Mel walked off the set during Bake Offs first season because the producers were trying to coax human-interest dramaand the inevitable tearsout of contestants.
[As Sue told The Telegraph:] ‘We felt uncomfortable with it, and we said We dont think youve got the right presenters.Im proud that we did that, because what we were saying was Lets try and do this a different wayand no one ever cried again. Maybe they cry because their souffl collapsed, but nobodys crying because someones going Does this mean a lot about your grandmother?
Bringing up dead relatives at stressful times is a time-honored technique for introducing tension into a television show, but its no way to treat your family.
Eateralso highlighted the extent to which Mel and Sue protect the contestants:
“When contestants do cryout of frustration or disappointment, generallyMel and Sue stand near them and use un-airable language so the embarrassing footage is tainted, and wont make it into the final edit. If we see them crying or something, Sue told the Guardian, Mel and I will go over there and put our coats over them, or swear a lot because we know then that the film wont be able to be used.”
There aren’t many reality show presenters who try to stoptheir contestants from being shown crying on national TV. More often, they’d be doing everything they could to elicit blood, sweat and tears (and a whole lot of drama), and the fact that Mel and Sue take steps to protect the bakersjust goes to show what a unique, and what a special thing that Bake Off is. No sob stories, no exploitation of its contestants – just good, honest (and often disastrous) baking.
Will it be the same when it goes to Channel 4?We’ll have to wait and see. But we’re really going to miss Mel and Sue.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
Images via BBC
H/T The Poke