The Great British Bake Off launched on its new home on Channel 4 last night with an average audience of 6.5m viewers and a 30.4% share.
The Love Productions show, which was acquired by C4 for £75m, peaked with 7.7m viewers and a 34.6% share.
The ratings make it Channel 4’s biggest overnight performance in five years, since The Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in August 2012.
It’s also almost double Channel 4’s biggest show this year, Diana: In Her Own Words which had 3.5m viewers.
However, the launch was down on last year’s series opener on its former BBC1 home, where it had 10.5m viewers.
The reviews for the new series have been largely positive, with critics agreeing that it had survived its move from BBC1 to Channel 4. "it actually feels very familiar," said The Radio Times. The Guardian said: "It was clear from this opening episode that enough people had held enough nerve to resist fixing something that was never broken."
The Daily Mail was not quite so impressed: "Fans of the classic Mary Berry years are not going to throw their floury hands up in dismay and cry: ‘They’ve ruined it!’ But like a pie with that hint of a soggy bottom, Channel Four’s Bake Off knock-off isn’t quite as satisfying."
Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer said: “The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows. I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade.”
The series eight debut was the most popular programme in the 8-9.15pm slot for all viewers, as well as Channel 4’s key demographics of 16-34 year olds and ABC1s.
Last week Hunt said she would consider anything above 3 million viewers a success for the programme.
"If it gets five, six, seven [million] I would be absolutely delighted," she told the Edinburgh International TV Festival. "This show breaks even at around three million, so anything north of that would be fantastic."
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