Find out where, or if, Canadians will be able to watch programs from the new factual TV streaming service.
The Great British Bake-Off (known for legal reasons as The Great British Baking Show in North America) is a critically-acclaimed baking competition TV series most recently starring hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas (recently replacing Sandi Toksvig), and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.
- New seasons are currently only available in Canada on CBC, not Netflix.
- Series (or season) 10 (which aired in 2019 on Channel 4 UK and Netflix US) has been available in full on CBC Gem (the streaming service) since Friday, October 9, 2020. Series 10 is also airing Sunday nights (which started October 11) on CBC Television, the broadcast network.
- The CBC told us that it currently plans to release season 11 (airing in fall 2020 in the UK / US) in summer 2021.
The series began airing in the UK on the BBC in 2010. PBS stations in the United States began airing the program in 2014; these broadcasts were also available to many viewers in Canada. CBC Television has been the official first-run home of the series in Canada since 2016, when it aired the sixth series (series in this context being British for "season") produced in 2015, and launching a Canadian spin-off, The Great Canadian Baking Show, in 2017. (Most past seasons of the British program are available on CBC's Gem streaming service, and can sometimes also be found on other Canadian channels like Makeful.)
After the producers, Love Productions, decided to move the UK broadcasts of the series from the commercial-free BBC to the publicly-owned but commercially-funded Channel 4, things became a bit more complicated. The CBC maintained its rights, which were acquired from Love Productions' current international distributor Sky Vision. However, PBS had apparently acquired U.S. rights from BBC Worldwide, and it seems these rights did not carry over to the Channel 4 series.
Netflix was eventually able to acquire U.S. rights to the full series, and beginning in 2019, the service would add episodes of that year's series 10 to its U.S. catalogue within days of their UK broadcasts. (On Netflix U.S., this is called "Collection 7", for consistency with how PBS had ordered its seasons.)
This practice will be continuing for series 11 ("Collection 8"), airing in fall 2020:
But Netflix does not have worldwide rights to Bake-Off, and while it's an Internet-based service, it is required by copyright owners to use geoblocking to limit access to acquired programs like GBBO to the countries it has been able to license the streaming rights for. Currently, if you access Netflix from Canada, you will not be able to access these episodes, or any episodes of the British series. (You can, however, find past seasons of The Great Canadian Baking Show there; these rights are shared with CBC Gem.)
Meanwhile, CBC has held onto the Canadian rights, and is maintaining its pattern of airing series the year after their British airings. CBC Gem released series 10 in full on Friday, October 9, 2020 (alongside a number of other past seasons and specials previously unavailable in Canada).
On linear television, CBC Television is currently scheduled to air series 10 of GBBS on Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m. local (8:00 p.m. in Newfoundland) – a 90-minute timeslot for each episode – which started on October 11, 2020.
We reached out to a CBC representative for clarification about their future scheduling plans for GBBS, and received the following statement (emphasis ours):
The timing for new seasons of The Great British Baking Show across CBC platforms is subject to scheduling, programming and budget considerations - whether launching on CBC TV or CBC Gem - as well as restrictions on how much foreign content CBC (as Canada's national public broadcaster) can launch on its main network. Season 10's timing was additionally impacted by COVID-19 and shifts in the NHL schedule. Planning at this stage would likely see a launch of Season 11 on CBC TV and CBC Gem in summer 2021 (subject to change).
Basically, this confirms the CBC plans to keep airing GBBS on a schedule that works for them, and not try to rush to catch up to the British or American releases – something that seems to have worked well for them in past years. In the meantime, Canadians will have to continue being careful to avoid spoilers.
If you have feedback about the CBC's scheduling practices, you may wish to consider contacting their audience relations department.