The latest season of Channel 4’s “The Great British Bake-Off” has gone down like a deflated soufflé with U.K. viewers.
Season 12 launched on Tuesday night with an audience of only 5.7 million — its lowest ratings yet since moving from BBC to Channel 4, industry outlet Broadcast reported.
It marks a dramatic decline even from last year, when the show’s season 11 finale set records for Channel 4 with an average audience of 9.2 million viewers, making it the highest-rated Channel 4 show since records began in 2002.
The latest season will air in the U.S. on Netflix on Sept. 24.
Tuesday evening’s numbers were not helped by the fact that some viewers trying to watch the episode online were met with a “technical error” on the Channel 4 streaming platform All4.
— Charlotte (@itsacharlotte13) September 21, 2021
Despite the soggy start to the season, ratings wise, reviews of the show, which is now judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and presented by Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, were generally positive, with The Guardian calling it “joyous TV” and The Independent saying it’s “amazingly not stale.”
The baking show, which is made by Love Productions, first launched on the BBC in 2010, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins with Hollywood and Mary Berry judging. As it grew in popularity it moved from BBC Two to BBC One, spawning replicas including “The Great British Sewing Bee” and “The Great Pottery Throw Down.”
In 2016, it was controversially announced that Love Productions was taking the hit series to Channel 4, having reportedly been offered £25 million ($34 million) — £10 million ($13.6 million) more than the BBC were proposing. When the show moved, only Hollywood agreed to move with it, with Giedroyc, Perkins and Berry deciding to step down.
The low ratings for the latest season come at a rocky time for Channel 4, with the U.K. government believed to be set on a sale of the public service broadcaster.