Mary Berry's decision to quit Bake Off has much cheered fans but is Paul Hollywood's decision to cross the divide so surprising? For most it's no surprise that Paul's baking is guided by the dark side and surely his departure was inevitable. That the BBC feels loss is clear from its efforts to tempt him to stay with tasty shows but clearly it wasn't enough. So what has gone wrong? Well like every employer the time to save talent starts In the mixing bowl and not as the timer buzzes. Mel, Sue and Mary may have decided to stay for love but sadly most work for money and loyalty only goes so far (and goes both ways). I haven't seen Paul's contract but you can safely bet it gets renewed (or not) between series - great for public accountability but not so good for retention. In short, he will not have been guaranteed work but the BBC won't be guaranteed his labour either. More importantly it seems unlikely the BBC negotiated in post-termination restrictions that would prevent Paul from defecting. Yes they are technical to write but properly constructed they do bite and it's an urban myth that they are never enforceable. At Doyle Clayton we even have a team devoted to Court applications and who prevent unlawful competition on a daily basis. Of course it's better to earn loyalty, but if the BBC had managed to negotiate tighter contracts for this talent it may have been better able to hold on to Paul and thwart the opposition - though I appreciate there is also an interesting TUPE angle here too! Recruiting talent is tough and costly in time and money. Good restrictions cost money too; but like a Bake Off contestant you do need to add all the ingredients if you want to win. Holding back on the good stuff in your contracts is just half baked!
Mary Berry will not be a judge on The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4, but Paul Hollywood has said he will remain. Berry said she was staying with the BBC out of "loyalty", adding that it had nurtured her and the show. She said Bake Off was "a unique and brilliant format from day one" and that she was "just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change". But Hollywood said he was "delighted" to be staying on the show. "It's been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn't turn my back on all that," he said. BBC media correspondent David Sillito understands the BBC had offered Hollywood a role on Top Gear if he stayed with the corporation.