Season 7 of BBC One’s The Great British Bake Off got cooking on Wednesday with a sweet new record. Watched by an average 10.4M viewers in the 8PM slot, it drew a 47.5 share. The peak audience for the cooking competition that has risen to phenomenon status in the UK was 11.2M last night. That tops the network’s most-watched moments of the Rio Olympics, which peaked at 11.1M viewers. The Games had delayed the start of Bake Off which last year began earlier in August (check out a trailer above).
Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are back with hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. British critics are praising the new season. The Telegraph said it had returned “in the nick of time to haul the nation out of its post-Olympic slump.”
Considered by many as comfort food, it sees cookbook author Berry and baker Hollywood begin with a group of 12 amateur bakers who compete in different challenges, all vying for the coveted engraved cake plate prize.
Each year brings more viewers to Bake Off; the Love Productions series set a record launch in 2015 with an average 9.3M viewers and a 43 share. Last year’s finale became the most-watched television program of 2015 with 13.4M viewers.
The series is also a powerhouse in some 200 countries abroad via the original version and local formats. While the UK version is currently airing on PBS and has been gaining traction, a CBS version failed to tempt American taste buds in 2013. Last year, ABC took its own stab with a holiday-themed four-episode run. The Great Holiday Baking Show was hosted by Nia Vardalos and husband Ian Gomez with chef Johnny Iuzzini judging alongside Berry who was imported for the series. The finale drew a 1.1 rating in December.