The series 8 premiere drew an average of 6.5 million total viewers (30.4% share) from 8-9:15 PM Tuesday, peaking with 7.7 million total viewers/34.6% share. That was Channel 4’s biggest overnight audience since the 8.3 million for the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in August 2012, according to the network. It also drew the biggest peak time share for 16-34-year-old viewers in ten years since Big Brother.
The premiere drew a bigger audience than any of the series premieres on BBC2 (the largest was 5.6 million in 2013), but did not match the 10.5 million viewers for first episode of the final series on BBC1 last year, according to Radio Times.
The show moved to Channel 4 last year after seven seasons on BBC. Last year, GBBO’s production company Love Productions said it was unable to reach a renewal agreement with the BBC after more than a year of negotiations so took the format to rival Channel 4 for a three-year contract.
The new iteration is hosted by GBBO stalwart Paul Hollywood along with Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith.
“The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows,” said Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer in a statement. “I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade.”