TV3 licking its lips at launch of ‘The Great Irish Bake Off’

Light sponge, fondant flowers and a ganache twist as a dozen contestants rise to challenge

Like anything chocolate (in our opinion), The Great Irish Bake Off, which begins on TV3 at 9pm tonight, can't really go wrong.

The Great British Bake Off, the original of the Great Bake Offs, started life as a BBC Two commission from Love Productions and proved a ratings triumph in its home market. It then went on to become BBC Worldwide's second most successful international format (behind only the retitled Strictly format, Dancing with the Stars).

Ireland is just one of 13 countries to have localised the Great Bake Off, with broadcasters in France, Italy and Ukraine also teaching viewers about the joys of “showstopper” bakes.

“Within the format licensing business, the Great Bake Off has exceeded all expectations,” the commercial arm of the BBC noted in its recent annual report.


The Irish version, made for TV3 by Sideline Productions, has Anna Nolan ably fulfilling the Mel-and-Sue presenter role, with cookery writer Biddy White Lennon and Merrion Hotel executive pastry chef Paul Kelly as judges.

The first episode preview suggests White Lennon and Kelly won't be quite as blunt about contestants' cake mishaps as their British equivalents Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, while the contestants are younger than the BBC Two average, in keeping with TV3's audience profile. It also has a sponsor, in the shape of Odlums.

But from Nolan’s “on your marks, get set . . . bake!” instruction to the generous screen-time for close-ups of elaborate sugary confections, all the ingredients are here for sweet viewer ratings.

That's assuming the audience enjoying the present run of The Great British Bake Off on BBC Two on Tuesday nights hasn't overdosed on glucose by the time Thursday comes around.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics