Popular television baking competition “The Great British Bake Off” returned to the U.K.’s Channel 4 on Tuesday evening, attracting an average audience of 6.9 million viewers and a 32% share of audience.
At its peak, the Love Productions produced show had 7.9 million viewers, according to data released by the channel. The show’s season 11 debut is Channel 4’s biggest broadcast of 2020 to date and the channel’s highest rating broadcast since the series nine final in 2018 (7.5million / 35.2%), the channel revealed.
The launch episode pulled in the biggest audience of any channel from 8.15pm to 9.45pm and the highest share of 16-34 year old viewers in its time slot with over half of this young audience watching TV at the time tuning in (56%), the channel said.
Channel 4 said: “Its significant share of young viewers makes it the biggest program on TV this year among 16-34 year-olds – excluding addresses from the Prime Minister and The Queen.”
The Prime Minister was indeed the Tuesday evening winner, with an anxious nation fearing a second wave of coronavirus tuning-in to watch Boris Johnson address the country. “Last night BBC1, BBC News and Sky News audiences combined to give a total of 10.7m/45.4% for the 8-minute broadcast,” according to Overnights.tv.
The Prime Ministerial address was also broadcast on Channel 4 and the 8pm slot for “The Great British Bake Off” was postponed by 15 minutes to accommodate it. The show began with a parody of a Boris Johnson coronavirus address by host, comedian Matt Lucas.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 22, 2020
Hahaha, the timing is perfect!
Channel 4 showing PM's address to the nation followed by the Great British Bake Off with it's new presenter. pic.twitter.com/HgcomldlTp
— properstranger3 (@properstranger3) September 22, 2020
For some audience members the show was a harbinger of normality after a troubled several months.
“I’ve let my children stay up to watch the Great British Bake Off, after all it’s a nice calming tv programme…,” tweeted Andrew Avramenko. “They are giggling so much, it’ll be a challenge to get them calm enough to have a chance of enough sleep before school tomorrow!”
I’ve let my children stay up to watch the Great British Bake Off, after all it’s a nice calming tv programme…
They are giggling so much, it’ll be a challenge to get them calm enough to have a chance of enough sleep before school tomorrow!
— Andrew Avramenko ن (@pilgrimexplorer) September 22, 2020
Viewer Empress Blue tweeted: “Great British Bake Off has started again, there is hope for 2020”
Great British Bake Off has started again, there is hope for 2020 🧁
— Empress Blue ~ 🔞 VA (@EmpressBlueVA) September 23, 2020
Simon Thompson tweeted: “Hats off to Great British Bake Off for the amazing work on making a fab show, with all the feels etc of pre Covid.”
Hats off to Great British Bake Off for the amazing work on making a fab show, with all the feels etc of pre Covid.
— Simon Thompson (@clownnoir) September 23, 2020
Ian Katz, director of programs, Channel 4 said: “It was one of our top priorities to get ‘Bake Off’ on air this year and I’m delighted the new series has brought some much-needed cheer to so many people. After all the grimness and hardship of the last few months, it felt like the country badly needed the reassuring warmth and wholesomeness of the Bake Off tent – a place where the worst thing that can happen is a pineapple upside down cake ending up on the floor.”