The Great British Bake Off‘s executive producer has said that people were justified in criticizing Season 13 of the hit competition series.
Critics including Scott Bryan, a self-confessed Bake Off superfan, said the Channel 4 show’s challenges became overly complicated and Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith’s judging was too harsh.
Bake Off, known as The British Baking Show on Netflix in the U.S., was also criticized for being culturally insensitive to Mexico, as hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding sported sombreros for a taco-themed task.
Richard McKerrow, Chief Executive of Bake Off producer Love Productions, told The Media Podcast that the production team is working to put things right for Season 14, which shoots in April.
“I’d be the first to hold up our hands and say that I feel that the last series was not our strongest,” McKerrow said. “You’ve got to take a look at it and go, ‘Shit, [are] the challenges too complicated?’ We’re looking very, very, very hard at making sure that it’s as good a series as it can be.”
He suggested that there may have been fatigue last year, having produced the two previous seasons in lockdown conditions during the pandemic.
“We had two series, which we had to film during Covid. The team here just went to enormous efforts and enormous sacrifice to get that filming done in a bubble,” McKerrow said.
He said Bake Off belonged to the people and the audience is very sensitive to the show overreaching. “You have to take very, very, very good care of it. So when people are criticizing either the challenges have become too complicated or whatever, you know, that’s something we take seriously.”
McKerrow said that Love Productions is close to naming a successor to Lucas, who left the series last year.
“It’s safe to say we are getting there. And I think well, given that we have to start filming in April, I would hope that we will have some news for you within the next few weeks,” he said.
“The most important thing is to find someone who realizes that the real heart of Bake Off is: love the bakers, love the baking. Someone who’s curious and someone who cares and understands.”
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