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Channel 4 is "delighted" with The Great British Bake Off 2017's launch ratings

Show's launch was a huge success for the network - despite being 4million viewers down

The Great British Bake Off

Channel 4 says it's "delighted" with the launch ratings for The Great British Bake Off 2017 - even though they're down almost 4million viewers year-on-year.

The first episode of series eight was watched by 6.5million viewers last night, across C4 and its +1 channel.

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It was the show's lowest launch audience since it was on BBC Two, down a whopping 37.5% on last year's run, which kicked off with 10.4million.

Despite this, it was still a fantastic result - with Bake Off now ranking as the network's most watched broadcast since the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

It is also a massive hit among 16-34s, becoming C4's biggest show in the youth demographic since Big Brother ten years ago.

Now C4's chief creative officer Jay Hunt has spoken out, saying she's thrilled with the performance.

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"The Great British Bake Off’s audience last night proves it’s still one of the country’s favourite shows," she commented.

"I am delighted millions watched the new team put 12 magnificent bakers through their paces. It’s the largest share of young audiences we’ve had for a show for over a decade."

Hunt previously revealed that Bake Off needs just 3million viewers for C4 to break even on its reported £75million investment.

However, one person who might be concerned is Paul Hollywood, the only returning judge - who had claimed producers may panic if numbers fell below 8million.

He seemed upbeat while talking to Sara Cox on BBC Radio 2 today, saying: "All the reaction has been very, very positive, which is great news.

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"When people watched it last night they realised that the bakers are the proper stars of the show."

Bake Off continues next Tuesday at 8.00pm on Channel 4 with biscuit week.