Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to front new BBC cookery show

By Steven McIntosh
Entertainment reporter

Image caption,
Nadiya won the 2015 series of The Great British Bake Off

Ever since the BBC lost The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4 last year, many have been watching the BBC's moves closely.

Clearly, the corporation couldn't commission a similar show to Bake Off, as it no longer owns the format.

But it also has millions of viewers who are now hungry for more cookery programmes.

So, in October, BBC Two announced it would air new food-based series The Big Family Cooking Showdown - and it's now been confirmed it will star former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.

She will co-host it with Zoe Ball, while chefs Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli will serve as judges.

Sixteen families will invite the four stars of the show into their own kitchens to cook their favourite family recipes and will be whittled down through a series of challenges across 12 hour-long episodes.

Image caption,
The Big Family Cooking Showdown will air in the autumn

The new Bake Off?

This isn't the first BBC programme Nadiya will have appeared in since Bake Off - she's already fronted a two-part documentary and will also star in an eight-part series about British food.

After she was announced as the co-presenter of The Big Family Cooking Showdown, some have suggested the programme sounded similar to The Great British Bake Off.

But Buzzfeed's TV editor Scott Bryan said he thought that wasn't the case.

Image source, Twitter

He pointed to the fact it will be broadcast on the more niche BBC Two, and not the flagship BBC One channel which The Great British Bake Off aired on.

Having said that, Bake Off originally started on BBC Two in 2010 with small viewing figures, and moved to its bigger sister-channel after it had become a ratings hit.

So if the new cookery programme is popular, it's possible it could make a similar leap a few years down the line.

Another reason it's being seen by some as a rival to Channel 4's Bake Off is because the two programmes could be broadcast around the same time of year.

Image caption,
The 2016 Christmas specials of Bake Off were the last episodes of the show the BBC aired

The BBC confirmed the first series of The Big Family Cooking Showdown will go out in the autumn - which might also be when the new Bake Off will air.

Channel 4 have not yet confirmed an exact start date but it will definitely be some time in 2017, and it's likely that the they would want the series to be completed before the year is out.

The fact that Nadiya is so closely associated with the GBBO brand is perhaps another reason the new show being likened to Bake Off.

The comparisons may be inevitable, but one thing we can be sure of is that the BBC will ensure the new programme has a completely different format to its former ratings hit.


Image source, BBC/Love Productions
Image caption,
Nadiya Hussain was 2015 Bake Off champion

By David Sillito, BBC media correspondent

"Big" has replaced "Great", "Bake Off" has become "Cooking Showdown" and it's got a four-person presenting and judging team. The comparisons are easy to make.

However, the idea was germinating before Bake Off made off to Channel 4. But what began as an attempt to tap in to GBBO's homely magic of nice people trying their best now looks like a rival, albeit one without a tent or Mary Berry.

Pitching this as a copycat rival to the Great British Bake Off makes a great headline but doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.

Of course, that doesn't mean something else more like Bake Off might appear on the airwaves.

TV companies spend millions on formats but legal protection for the ideas is far from clear legally, with disputes rarely making it to court.

The one thing that would probably stop it though is the fear that after creating a "copycat" it fails to draw in the viewers. That's a headline the TV bosses would really like to avoid.

Follow us on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, on Instagram at bbcnewsents, or if you have a story suggestion email

More on this story