BBC facing legal action after blocking The Great British Bake Off from Channel 4 for a year

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The BBC is reportedly facing legal action from The Great British Bake Off after it decided to block Channel 4 from airing a full series of the show before 2018.

The BBC's contract for Bake Off includes a 'holdback' clause, which gives it the power to prevent the public version of the hit cooking competition from relaunching on a rival broadcaster for a year.

Reports initially indicated that maker Love Productions hoped to reach an agreement for the ban to be relaxed.

However, according to the Sunday People, Beeb bosses have now decided to enforce it - so Love is planning legal action.

The production firm may have a loophole on its side, as while the BBC has lost the rights to air Bake Off, its commercial arm still has a stake in the format.

An 'expert' industry insider told the newspaper: "Even though the BBC has lost the show, they still have to commercial rights for several more years.

"They’re duty bound by their own policy to maximise the commercial return on their own intellectual property rights - which covers merchandise - and keeping Bake Off away from screens is not going to help with that.

"That could well form the basis of a strong legal argument to get the show on air sooner."

Channel 4 announced in September that it will take over Bake Off from 2017, in a three-year deal reportedly worth £75million.

Its first series, airing next year, is currently due to be a celebrity special benefitting Stand Up To Cancer.

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