If you’re a fan of The Great British Baking Show, you might know that it goes by a different name in the U.K. where it originated. There, it’s known as The Great British Bake Off and while you’re probably a bit more concerned about finding out when the next season is coming on rather than why these names differ, you might be wondering…um, yeah, why does it have two names? We broke it down for you.
How did The Great British Bake Off start?
The show began in 2010 in largely the same format it follows today. Amateur bakers compete in different rounds, including signature bake, technical bake, and showstopper, with bakers being eliminated each week until one is crowned The U.K’s Best Amateur Baker.
The show has changed hosts and judges over the years, starting with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry as judges and Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc as hosts. Today it’s judged by Paul and Prue Leith and hosted by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, though Sandi will be replaced with comedian Matt Lucas next season.
The show has grown to be enormously popular all over the world, with its winners, hosts, and judges gaining fame and the program growing a huge and dedicated fan-base.
Why is it known as The Great British Baking Show in the U.S.?
When the show began airing in the U.S. on PBS and Netflix, many viewers noticed it was now being called “The Great American Baking Show.” PBS’s public editor Madhulika Sikka explained the change in a piece back in 2017, saying that Pillsbury technically owns the rights to the term “Bake Off” in the U.S.
The company began its Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest (later known as Pillsbury Bake Off), in 1949 as a way to celebrate its 80th birthday. The company apparently didn’t approve of the show using its original name once it was brought to the U.S. However, Sikka noted that the term “Bake Off” tends to imply a fierce competition, something the show is noted for shying away against. Its gentler, so the gentler name does make some sense!
“It is in fact the beauty of The Great British Bake Off that it is a reality show, with an elimination contest that doesn’t feel that way. Come for the competition, stay for the conviviality,” Sikka wrote at the time.
So are they the same show?
Yep! The episodes you see in America are the same ones that you see in the U.K.. However The Great British Baking Show has only aired five “series” whereas there are 10 “series” of the show that have aired in the U.K. Here’s hoping we get them all one day!
So what’s The Great American Baking Show?
There are many international versions of the show, with The Great American Baking Show being one of them. This is a different show than what airs in the U.K., with the only similarity being that Paul Hollywood and Merry Berry have both judged it at some point. The two latest seasons have both been Holiday Editions, making it The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition. To make it even more confusing, the show FILMS in the U.K. but features American bakers. Oh, and just to add to the confusion, this is different than the other American version—The American Baking Competition—which aired for one season.
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