Bake Off helps Channel 4 grab biggest audience of 2020 with eight million viewers

Episode was also the highest-ever overnight launch to date on Channel 4.

GBBO: Hollywood, Leith, Fielding and Lucas
GBBO: Hollywood, Leith, Fielding and Lucas

Channel 4 has nabbed its biggest audience of 2020 so far with the first episode of the latest series of The Great British Bake Off last night.

The 11th series of the show, which offered viewers some light entertainment, attracted a peak of 7.9 million viewers between 9pm and 9.05pm, according to overnight figures from Channel 4.

The average audience for the whole episode, which was broadcast between 8.15pm and 9.45pm, was 6.9 million – a 32% share of the total audience watching TV during that period.

It means that the episode was the biggest overnight series launch to date on Channel 4. It was also the channel's highest-rated broadcast since the series nine finale in 2018, which attracted 7.5 million viewers.

Last night's GBBO also pulled in a 56% share of the highly sought-after 16- to 34-year-old demographic, making it the biggest show on TV this year for this age group – excluding addresses from the Prime Minister and The Queen.

The debut episode for the 2019 series averaged 5.7 million viewers (30.6% share) and a peak of 6.6 million (35.2% share).

This year's show featured new co-host Matt Lucas, who replaced Sandi Toksvig, alongside Noel Fielding, as well as the show's judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.

The 12 contestants agreed to stay together in a social bubble during filming because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Ian Katz, director of programmes at 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."

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