Netflix Is Removing This Fan-Favorite Season Of GBBO

Fans of "The Great British Bake Off," aka "The Great British Baking Show," better act quickly. They only have a little while to watch, watch, and watch again some of the earlier episodes of the show. As What's On Netflix announced, Netflix will continue its ongoing process of removing shows from streaming by taking away the 10 episodes of "The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings." 

What Netflix has listed as "The Beginnings" is a bit of a headache to explain. Per Grub Street, it is a repackaging of Season 5 of "The Great British Baking Show," which was broadcast in the United States by PBS in 2012. However, the show aired in the U.K. as the third season of "The Great British Bake Off." So the people listed as Season 5 contestants on PBS are named as Season 3 competitors by IMDb. In other words, it's the season John Whaite won. Regardless, what Netflix calls "The Beginnings" will end its run on American Netflix on New Year's Day.

So if you are like fans who want to see Matt Lucas go because he represents how far the show has changed since Mary Berry was a judge and Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc hosted, then you'd better enjoy the holiday season by rewatching the episodes that cemented the institution before they disappear. Why Netflix feels the need to obliterate traces of the show's older self is best left up to speculation.

Why would Netflix remove the season?

The 10 episodes of "The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings" have IMDb ratings of 8.0 to 8.5 out of 10, so clearly, people enjoyed them. 

Here, we ask the question that anyone who has enjoyed a canceled Netflix show is probably asking: Why bother removing something that viewers might like to keep watching? On its help page, Netflix explains, "Though we strive to keep the titles you want to watch, some titles do leave Netflix because of licensing agreements." The site gives three possible reasons: There is an issue with the rights to the show, the show is not popular enough to warrant the cost, or the company has decided there are some "seasonal or regional factors" at play. 

In the case of "The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings," the season was licensed from PBS in a deal covered by The New York Times. So it could be that a licensing issue makes keeping the episodes too costly or unfeasible.

Netflix will get away with it

Judging from fans' reactions, the rebranding of the earlier competitions as a spinoff seems to have worked. "I'm rewatching the beginnings because I heard it's leaving Netflix soon. Then I'll probably rewatch them all in Netflix's order," one person matter-of-factly tweeted about "The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings." Another outraged comment came from a fan who lamented, "... they're removing my favorite season!" The tweet then proceeds to ask Netflix why it didn't work on licensing the seasons, as the show is incredibly popular.

However, Netflix may have other ideas that suggest there's no need to pay PBS if the streamer could recreate a similar magic with a new show: "School of Chocolate." As CNet writes in a piece directly comparing the two shows, "School of Chocolate" goes even further than "GBBO" with the cuddly feels by removing elimination in favor of celebrating the students' learning process.

Netflix's new baking show might fill the void, but not replace the memories of "Bake-off." But for most Americans, "Bake-off" is purely the Netflix episodes anyway, not "The Beginnings."

Fans will miss the show's supposed gore

"The Great British Bake-off" provided a safety blanket for many fans during the upheaval of the pandemic. Little do viewers remember, however, the gore that caused "The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings" to be rated "PG."

Some fans began to notice this fact as they crammed the doomed season into last-minute viewing. One tweeted, "So I just saw that Great British Bakeoff 'The Beginnings' is leaving Netflix in a month (and I'm just getting into GBBO) so I hit play and the first episode says rated PG for 'gore.'" They paused for a beat. Then asked, "I'm sorry, what?"

That's right. As the Daily Mail noted, that season featured a moment when a contestant accidentally injured himself. John Whaite, who would go on to win the competition, gave himself a nasty cut. In fairness, it was a lot of blood and probably did need some warning for viewers who expected another baking romp in an English garden. Still, that season now will always be the gory season of "The Great British Bake Off."