Jo Brand

A nation in shock. A country in turmoil. The tears of millions flood the land. Forget Brexit, the nation is gripped by Breadxit! That’s right, by now you all know that Love Productions failed to rise to the occasion and followed the dough and has officially jumped shipped to Channel 4.

The news leaked faster than Iain’s melted Baked Alaska and it was soon revealed that Mel & Sue have decided to step down as hosts. Whilst I am sure nobody can do it batter than these two, here is a list of likely hosts that could potentially be the cherry on top of Channel 4’s cake.

Davina McCall

CREDIT: Channel 4

After one disaster after another, it looks likely that the next series of The Jump will be Channel 4’s last. That leaves Davina McCall out in the cold. The loveable presenter is a Channel 4 stalwart having found success with the cult classic Streetmate before fronting reality giant Big Brother.

Pros
She’s Davina! Her crazy energy and warmth would make her the perfect candidate for the host gig. She’s got tonnes of reality TV experience and has a strong background in food and baking.

She’s a big name, which is exactly what Channel 4 need to draw interest from disgruntled viewers. Whilst Chris Evans was a hit in the 90s, his return to TV on Top Gear was a dud. Davina has managed to stay currant throughout her decades on the box.

Cons
Davina’s a health nut and fattening cakes and other bakes isn’t exactly in keeping with her brand. In addition, Davina has recently released a cookbook, which is all about cutting sugar out of your life. Something which would no doubt get a frosty reception from Mary Berry.

She’s a distraction. Davina’s loveable energy is a big hit with audiences but the secret to Mel & Sue’s success is that they never draw attention away from the bakers. Davina naturally draws attention from her viewers, so could her presenting be too big for the tent?

Likelihood: 4/5

Paul O’Grady

Paul O'grady
© Battersea Dogs Home

Whilst Paul has found his comfort zone with animal documentaries, he still manages to endear the nation. His personality is a pleasant mix of humour and sincerity, which makes him endlessly watchable. Whilst he first won the nation’s heart as Lily Savage, it’s his work on afternoon chat shows and animal documentaries that has won him both awards but also the love of a nation.

Pros
Paul’s personality is a perfect fit. His teatime chat and time on Blankety Blank managed to dance on the boundary of the inappropriate, so innuendos would still be a-plenty. Paul would manage to keep the light heartedness of the show but still be able to play into the drama.

Paul is a professional with many decades in the business covering different genres. He’s a quick wit with a cool head so he’d easily fit into the Bake Off format without making it seem too different. A new host is in danger of alienating the audience who will be expecting nothing but perfection once Bake Off jumps ship.

Cons
Paul has previously criticised the show stating that he is “not interested in a gang of people in a tent making Swiss rolls”. It wouldn’t be great for his integrity for him to front a show he previously criticised. But, with this £25m a year acquisition, perhaps Paul will be otherwise swayed.

Paul’s previous work has always been quite emotional as works to improve the life of rescue dogs so, when it comes to a burnt cake, he mightn’t be as caring. Mel and Sue always seemed genuinely interested in the show and its contestants but it is likely Paul would not be as emotionally involved and, therefore, may leave the viewers a bit cold.

Likelihood: 3/5

Richard & Judy

Richard and Judy have been off-screen as for some time now but I am sure, for many, it’d be a welcome return. Judy may be hitting our screens as a Loose Woman but it’s certainly not the same without her being talked over. The duo have excellent chemistry (well you’d hope so since they’re married) and their middle class humour is pitch perfect for the show’s audience and pace.

Pros
Richard and Judy are a duo with great chemistry, just like Mel and Sue. They were TV’s Mum and Dad, slowly getting drunk on wine in the front room so it would certainly be a comfort when uncertainty sets in as the show moves to Channel 4. Viewers are used to seeing them together and their welcome return would no doubt show that the channel is willing to put some heavyweight talent behind the move.

Richard and Judy have always been tastemakers. They’ve always promoted the finest food and wine and championed the best books. The viewing public trust them so if they were willing to sign up, it’d certainly add to the legitimacy of the show. Right now the rose tinted glasses of the show have been smashed by the capitalistic move by Love Productions and viewers need to believe that Channel 4’s acquisition is because they care about the format rather than advertising money and ratings.

Cons
Richard and Judy have been off air for some time, could it be difficult to watch them together? Despite their great chemistry, Judy has managed to re-model herself as a clear individual. Will they still gel well together and manage to recreate their magic?

Whilst Judy was always pleasant, Richard is often known for his awkward jokes and gaffes on air including revealing Judy once had a bad time with thrush. Richard may try to attempt to continue Mel and Sue’s famed banter and will most likely fall flat on his face.

Likelihood: 2/5

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Jo Brand

Jo Brand
– (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

 

Jo currently hosts Bake Off’s spin off show An Extra Slice so it wouldn’t be completely unusual for her to slip into the main slot. The move would be strikingly similar to Emma Willis taking over from Brian Downling as host of Channel 5’s iteration of Big Brother. Jo is a proven comedic talent who already has a love for the show. I would argue that Jo would be the safest bet for new host.

Pros
Jo is already part of the Bake Off family. With Mel and Sue gone, Paul & Mary will likely follow so it’d be nice to have somebody on the show that could carry the torch for the BBC version. Jo’s love of the show and her knowledge of the audience means she’ll be able to hit the right tone immediately. Hiring Jo would also reassure viewers that Channel 4 aren’t  looking to completely re-invent the wheel.

Jo is a huge fan of cakes and baking so her enthusiasm for the baker’s achievements will feel genuine rather than forced. We know she loves the show, we know she appreciates the art so therefore it’ll be more believable and, therefore, enjoyable for us!

Cons
Jo’s persona is very grumpy old woman, which won’t play well in the tent. She has never shown a particular warmth so she may not be as comforting to the contestants and may make interactions seem a little more awkward as a result. Mel & Sue had the perfect split of humour and kindness and Jo would struggle to meet that.

Jo is very BBC and has been a familiar face for many, many years so it may seem a bit strange to watch her on Channel 4. Jo is a BBC stalwart so any move there would be interpreted as a money grab. As a member of the show already, it could do her more damage than good to move with the show as viewers could potentially interpret the move as disloyalty. I imagine if Paul and Mary stay on, they would face similar criticism.

Likelihood: 5/5

Anna Richardson

Anna Richardson
CREDIT: Channel 4

 

Anna is one of Channel 4’s loyal hosts, having fronted many shows for the broadcaster. Anna has presented lots of factual entertainment from Secret Eaters to Supersize v Superskinny so viewers are likely familiar with her work. She has a laid-back approach to dealing with people, which would work well within the tent. She also has a strong production background, which would make her a sensible choice for the show. In addition to this, Anna has managed to show both her serious and funny sides in shows such as The Sex Education Show and Naked Attraction. However, her current partner is current Bake Off host Sue Perkins so Anna hosting may make things a little awkward.

Pros
Anna’s personality is a mix of serious and cheeky which is another good blend for the show. Her journalistic instincts will get her to root out the secrets behind the bakers and her light heartedness will cut through any tension.

Anna has dealt with many topics on TV but has steadfastly covered food and the psychology of food. She would be wholly believable as a host and, as her work on Secret Eaters has shown, she cares deeply for others. She has a natural rapport with people even in awkward situations i.e. them being stark bollock naked so Anna would be able to interact easily with bakers and judges alike.

Cons
Anna is known more recently for Naked Attraction so she may not be seen as a suitable host for such a mild mannered show. It’s quite the jump to go from dicks and tits to pies and cakes.

Anna’s worth is deeply rooted in the meaning of things and, whilst that might add a fun element to the show, it could also result in her trying to think too deep about things. The Bake Off is successful because it’s easy-going so nobody wants to know what happened in a baker’s childhood to make them want to add chilli to their chocolate cake.
Likelihood: 4/5
Outside Chances (Likelihood between 1/5 to 2/5)
Myleen Klass, Julian Clary, Eric Lanlard, Kirstie Allsop, Ella Woodward, Jonathan Ross, Fern Britton, Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, John Snow and Kirstie Gallacher

 

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