Yesterday, the Murdoch Sun had as its front page lead not that Young Dave had thrown in the towel and gone off to spend more time with his retired Police horse, nor anything to do with Brexit, nor even knocking the Labour Party. No, for the Murdoch mafiosi, the name of the game was The Great British Bake-Off. And the show was not even airing: it was all about the BBC losing the show to Channel 4.
“Crumbs! This Takes Biscuit … C4 batters Beeb to whisk away Bake Off … Fans’ fury as show lost over dough … DESSERTED” frothed the front page. And it was, indeed, all about dough, as the BBC had offered £45 million for another three years’ hosting the hit show, and C4 had bid a whopping £75 million. But then the whole thing began to unravel, especially when it was discovered that the Murdoch doggies were not mere spectators.
First, half of GBBO’s presenters, that being Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, decided they would rather not transfer with the show to C4, thank you. This slowly sank in with observers, who realised that C4 had bought only the rights to the format: Mel and Sue were not part of the deal. Eyes are now trained on veteran presenter Mary Berry, who is thought to be BBC through and through. If she declines, it could mean trouble.
Without the presenting team, Channel 4 will have bought no more than a husk, an empty shell. Moreover, for a broadcaster under fire from the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, which is slavering over the prospect of seeing it sold off, acting like a commercial competitor to the Beeb does not look good. And then someone made an interesting discovery about the production company that owns the GBBO format.
Lover Productions was until two years ago a totally independent outfit. But during 2014, a 70% share in the company was acquired by none other than Sky. That’s the broadcaster the Murdoch mafiosi own 39% of. The thought then entered that having both the BBC and Channel 4 screwed over was just what Creepy Uncle Rupe would have loved to see. And sure enough, today’s Sun editorial reflects exactly that theme.
“BY stealing Bake Off, Channel 4 has wrecked Britain’s biggest show and shredded its own thin case for remaining a publicly-owned broadcaster … It has always fended off privatisation demands by trumpeting its record of innovation and commitment in public service programming. Yet now it swoops in - a predator armed with £75 million - to nick the BBC’s best asset … How very innovative”. And there was more.
“What a public service too, to swipe a programme loved by millions … perhaps the only BBC show some watch in return for the compulsory licence fee … It plainly wants to compete aggressively like a commercial broadcaster - so the Government might as well now flog it to a real one … we could finally see the back of the leftie propaganda it calls news”. The vindictive Murdoch mafiosi completes its coup and crows about it.
Standing up to Kelvin McFilth, embarrassing Tony Gallagher, and actually broadcasting news - these are all major transgressions, which have clearly incurred Don Rupioni’s displeasure. So now he has had his revenge, with the BBC losing a key show, Channel 4 scoring an owl goal, and the Government urged to emasculate it further.
Right now, someone at Channel 4 is kicking themselves. But it’s already too late.