The BBC could face a pricey battle to keep 'The Great British Bake Off' and its stars Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. The broadcaster’s three year contract with the firm behind the show is up next year and executives will reportedly soon enter talks with the two judges.

Mary Berry‘GBBO’ judge Mary Berry.

According to The Mirror, Berry and Hollywood will be able to “name their price” in negotiations. Currently, the pair earn a reported £500,000 a series, but this could be set to increase drastically as the BBC battles to keep the surprise hit series.

“Bake Off is the hottest show on TV by miles – it’s worth at least £20million to a broadcaster and everyone would love it on their channel,” a source told The Mirror.

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“So Paul and Mary can name their price when it comes to sorting out their new contract.” What makes it worse for the Beeb is that the firm behind the show, Love Production, was bought last year by rival Sky.

“Sky is one of Britain’s most successful businesses for a reason,” a TV insider said. “Clearly they’ve spotted the success of Love, and 'The Great British Bake Off' is the biggest part of that – so they’ll be expecting a significant return on their very large investment.”

This year’s series pulled in 14.5 million viewers for the season finale on Wednesday, which saw the competition won by Nadiya Hussain. “The BBC’s contract to show Bake Off expires at the very worst possible time for them – just as its popularity has rocketed,” a source added.

“Next year is the last of a three-year deal which has seen the show reach record levels of success. Lots of people involved will be hiking up their fees. But with viewing figures so high the sky really is the limit for what the show’s producers and their stars could ask.”

While it’s not known how much the BBC agreed to pay for series five, six and seven an industry expert said viewing figures mean the show could be worth up to £20million to a commercial broadcaster.

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“It’s very difficult to put a value on a show like Bake Off because it’s just so big and could lead to many other things. But it’s right up there with the most valuable brands on television at the moment,” a source said

“The advertising revenues which an audience of that size could guarantee means it would be worth tens of millions – and obviously the talent involved in the show would be well-rewarded too.” The BBC have confirmed that their current deal ends next year, but declined to comment further.