The 48-year-old is back on screens today alongside This Morning’s resident medic Ranj Singh on his flagship ITV show James Martin’s Saturday Morning. As well as Ranj, James will also be joined by chefs Sat Bains and Bettina Campolucci Bordi to enjoy an array of treats rustled up by the Yorkshireman, including recipes for risotto, lemon sole and rhubarb crumble cake. James is a passionate chef, and not scared to share his opinion – whether it be on Brexit, cooking or fellow celebrity cooks.
But in one outburst the star condemned the viewers of GBBO for criticising the show after it made the surprising move from the BBC, to rival broadcaster Channel 4.
When the show began on Channel 4 in 2017, original cast members Mary Berry, Mel Geidroyc and Sue Perkins were replaced by Prue Leith, Sandy Toksvig, and Noel Fielding.
A year before GBBO aired on Channel 4, it was confirmed the BBC had lost the broadcast rights after being outbid by £10million for the programme.
Alongside viewers, celebrities also criticised the decision to move channels, with Lord Alan Sugar, host of The Apprentice, saying he felt “sorry” for the BBC as it had “invested years in making GBBO popular”.
The BBC’s ex-political editor, Nick Robinson, also claimed that the GBBO channel move would make bigger news than former Prime Minister David Cameron’s confirmation he would stand down as an MP in the same year.
He tweeted: “Politics is a cruel business. Bake Off’s Off will be a bigger story than Dave’s Off.”
But despite the outpouring of anger, James told people it was time to “stop moaning” when interviewed with the Radio Times in 2017.
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“People will find it. If they don’t like it, they’ll find something else.”
The chef himself knows about how moves between channels operate after he stood down from Saturday Kitchen on the BBC in 2016 after 10 years.
He made the move to ITV in 2017, and has now become a regular on screens throughout the week.
James’ position became untenable after producers on Saturday Kitchen made the move to shaft live audiences in a bid to cut the programme’s budget.
After he left, James also accused the broadcaster of bias, as he alleged that he was turned down for two jobs on the BBC due to his accent.
In 2018, he told the Daily Mail that apparent bias was “not the reason I left”, adding: “But you’d be wrong if you said they don’t discriminate against people because of their accents.”
The BBC defended its position, arguing that it had a “huge variety of presenters with different accents and from different backgrounds”.
It said that the wide range of programmes, including Kitchen Invaders, The Real Italian Job and Home Comforts, James presented “shows that we have no problem with his accent”.
The decision to leave Saturday Kitchen stunned viewers, who warmed to the chef after he took over from former host Antony Worrall Thompson in 2006.
James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs today at 9.30am on ITV.