Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite warns Channel 4 not to mess with its format

Ex-contestants share their shock at the BBC losing the show

The Great British Bake Off - John Whaite

Former contestants of The Great British Bake Off have expressed dismay that the BBC has lost the show to Channel 4 - with winner John Whaite warning changes to the format could prove "catastrophic".

Yesterday the BBC confirmed that the seventh series of Bake Off will be its last, with Channel 4 announcing moments later that it has snapped up the rights to the show in a three-year deal.

Fans were up in arms at the shock development on social media, and many of the show's memorable faces are also concerned.

Speaking to ITV News, Whaite - who won Bake Off's third series - said C4 should stick to the show's winning formula to ensure its success.

"Channel 4 are not gonna mess around with its format, and if they do, they’ll be stupid," he commented. "I think everyone’s gonna have a very close eye on what they do with the show and if they make one wrong step I think it could be catastrophic.

"I’m not concerned, I think it will remain the Bake Off."

Series two winner Jo Wheatley expressed similar thoughts to the BBC, saying: "I really didn’t expect that one to happen, I just hope that it doesn’t get changed too much, that would be a real shame.

"Hopefully it will stay the same, the same presenters and the same judges and the same nice feel about it."

Several others took to Twitter to share their shock, with series five finalist Richard Burr writing: "Flippin Nora! That's a turn up for the books isn't it!"

Ugne Bubnaityte, from the class of 2015, added: "Oh noooo.... It's like force evacuating #GBBO from it's home 🙁 #gutted"

Meanwhile, Tamal Ray did his best to reassure viewers by posting an amusing photo of judge Mary Berry.

Bake Off was the most watched TV show in 2015, while the current run achieved a record launch rating of 13.6million viewers.

Channel 4 has confirmed its first series, airing next year, will be a celebrity version in aid of Stand Up To Cancer - but it's unclear whether Mary and Paul Hollywood and hosts Mel & Sue will follow the show to its new home.

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