Wigan’s Great British Bake Off winner says he fears for the future of the programme after the show left the BBC and lost its star presenters.
John Whaite, who was crowned the show’s top baker in 2012, says the departure of Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc could jeopardise the Bake Off’s continued success when it moves to Channel 4 next year.
The 27-year-old says comedy duo Mel and Sue “made the show” and said he no longer felt hopeful for the programme.
“#gbbo is a BBC show, and it’s a shame it’s moving, but let’s all calm down and just see what it’s like,” he tweeted.
“Don’t implode yet everyone!”
However, on learning Mel and Sue were not following the programme to Channel 4, he added: “Very sad news. They’re wonderful girls who made the show what it is. Now, I’m not feeling so hopeful.”
He spoke out as it became clear the future look of one of the Britain’s most popular shows hung in the balance as judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have yet to confirm they will be joining the show when it moves to Channel 4.
Meanwhile, Mel and Sue released a joint statement to reveal the news, in which they said they are “not going with the dough”.
They added that they were “shocked and saddened” to learn of the Bake Off’s move from the BBC.
Perkins and Giedroyc continued: “We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was.
“The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 at its peak.”
They ended their statement: “We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps.
“We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.”
The presenters have been a formidable team since 2010, with their “good cop, bad cop” approach and their many double entendres.
Their innuendo-laced references to things such as soggy bottoms and hot baps, as well as comments such as “You have got two hours to pop Mary’s cherry ... “, have been a hit with viewers.
Hollywood has previously spoken of he and his co-stars’ allegiance to the BBC.
During an appearance on Top Gear this year, he spoke of the potential of them leaving the channel if the show moved.
He said: “It’s not up to us, it’s up to the production company, but as far as Mary, Mel, Sue and myself are concerned we want to stay on the BBC.”
On Monday the BBC said it would love to have kept Bake Off, but it had not been able to afford it. It is believed Channel Four had offered £10m more than the BBC for the show.