The Great British Bake Off producers 'threatened to SUE the BBC over rip-off shows'

Love reportedly claimed Hair and The Big Painting Challenge stole GBBO's format

great british bake off contestants 2016 - 28

Love Productions' rift with the BBC may run deeper than The Great British Bake Off - as the firm reportedly threatened to SUE the broadcaster over two 'rip-off' shows it made in-house.

The BBC lost the rights to air Bake Off in what is thought to have been a tense stand-off with Love on Monday - but it seems their relationship is even more fragile than first thought.

Citing a 'senior BBC source', The Telegraph reports that the production company threatened legal action against the Beeb over two programmes it claimed stole Bake Off's format.

According to the mole, Love took issue with Hair, the BBC Three (and later Two) show that aimed to find the UK's best amateur hair stylist.

The BBC apparently agreed a financial settlement to prevent a court case - only to risk Love's wrath again with The Big Painting Challenge, a competition for amateur artists.

While the BBC's loss of Bake Off has mostly been blamed on its financial woes - with bosses unable to meet Love's demand for £25million a year, four times the previous price tag - the newspaper suggests that the legal trouble led to a "catastrophic breakdown" of trust between the two parties.

However, while it may have been unable to keep the hit cookery contest in the UK, the BBC still has a stake in it.

Yesterday it emerged that the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide will retain its long-term deal to distribute the format internationally, which doesn't expire until 2028.

Channel 4 will become Bake Off's new UK home next year - but it has been dealt a blow after much-loved hosts Mel and Sue announced they are quitting the show.

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