The Great British Bake Off suffered a slight ratings dip compared with last year as it returned to screens on Tuesday night for its 14th season.
Despite Hammond being popular with fans, the show suffered a slight lull in viewing figures compared to last year’s launch with overnight figures revealing an average of 4.3million tuning in.
The number is 100,000 less viewers than last year’s premiere episode, 4.4million. Notably, 2022’s debut had dropped 1.3million compared to 2021’s figures.
This year, figures peaked at 5million, which was a 200,000 drop in viewers from last year.
It also held an overall audience shared of 29 percent but proved to be a hit among 16-34s, who held 48.7% of the viewership. The current figures don’t include streaming figures.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 told The Standard: “Bake Off launched with a 5million peak audience and an average audience of 4.3 million.
“It was the most popular show in the slot with 29% of all viewers tuning in to see the new intake of bakers. The show was also a massive hit with young audiences with 48.7% of 16-34 year olds watching the show.
“It was up on share compared to the last series. We await the streaming figures.”
Despite the slight drop in viewership, fans of the show praised Hammond’s debut as GBBO’s newest co-host, with some branding it a ”stroke of genius” online.
One penned on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Loved Alison Hammond on #GBBO and it looked like the contestants enjoyed engaging with her as well”.
“Alison Hammond is an absolute breath of fresh air and just what the GBBO needed, especially after the unusually cruel challenges of the last few years,” another wrote. “Seems they have gone back to the wholesome fun again.”
A third added: “Alison Hammond was the perfect addition to #GBBO”.
Fans of Bake Off were also left in hysterics during the season premiere after judge Prue Leith dropped some beaver-related innuendos.
During the first Showstopper challenge of the series, the hopefuls were tasked with putting together an elaborate cake shaped like an animal of their choosing.
Former flight attendant Nicky opted to bake a beaver-inspired showstopper, comically revealing she wanted to immortalise the animal in cake, having once dressed up as one.
After sharing her explanation, Leith hilariously said, “I’m not even sure I know what a beaver looks like”, prompting laughter in the tent.
Continuing the hilarity, the South African restaurateur left many giggling when Nicky finally brought her showstopper to the judges’ table.
Leith said with a straight face, “So, Nicky, tell us about your beaver”, before breaking down into a fit of laughter with the rest of production.
Fellow judge Paul Hollywood complained that Nicky’s cake, which she had named Norman, “looked amazing, but it was bone dry”.
“I don’t like dry beavers, do you?” new host Alison Hammond then joked which left co-presenter Noel Fielding, asking: “Am I in a Carry On film?”.
The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesday night at 8pm on Channel 4