When TV institution the Great British Bake Off moved from BBC to Channel 4 in 2016, fans were in uproar. The thought of the fantastic tent and everything it stood for moving to a different producer filled many with panic. However, two series and three personnel changes later, and the £75 million enterprise has gone from strength to strength.

Paul HollywoodPaul Hollywood was the only one out of the BBC four to make the move

Now, boss of Love Productions and Bake Off's creator, Richard McKerrow has claimed they had 'no choice' but to move after three years of bullying at the BBC.

Speaking to the Daily Express, Richard said they needed to escape 'arrogant' and 'bullying' BBC bosses.

He said: "We really had no choice. I think Bake Off would have died if we hadn’t moved."

Richard revealed tensions mounted when Love Productions allegedly sued the BBC for 'copying' GBBO's format with two new shows.

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He claimed the production company's relationship with the BBC started to 'deteriorate' three years before they left the corporation.

"Unfortunately broadcasters bully independent producers and the BBC is the biggest bully of all and I don’t think that is healthy for the industry. I felt bullied," he claimed.

He added: "There is an arrogance that the BBC has that is not good for the industry."

According to reports, Love Productions accused Hair - an in-house BBC3 production which tried to find the country's best hairdresser - of having a 'staggeringly similar' format to GBBO.

The company - founded by Richard and Anna Beattie - employed Jonathan Coad, a TV copyright specialist at law firm Lewis Silkin, to sue the BBC after the show was released in 2014.

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The matter was resolved out of court when the BBC paid Love Productions an undisclosed financial settlement.

But a year later, Love and BBC are said to have become embroiled in a similar wrangle, this time regarding The Big Painting Challenge, a show presented by Richard Bacon and Una Stubbs.

According to reports, the BBC hired an official mediation service to try to settle the claim, with executives insisting that GBBO was itself based on a similar format to the Corporation's own MasterChef.

Although it was eventually resolved, the secret row apparently led to a 'catastrophic breakdown' in relationship ahead of the GBBO negotiations.