Paul Hollywood: I would think very carefully about joining Bake Off now

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The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has said he would “think very, very carefully” about joining the show if he was offered the job today due to some of the consequences of fame.

he 56-year-old celebrity chef has been a judge on the amateur baking competition show since its launch in 2010.

While speaking to Mark Forrest on Scala Radio, Hollywood said he would be “very reticent” about signing up for the show after experiencing the effects of its popularity.

Hollywood was asked how keen he would be to sign up for the show knowing what he knows now, to which Hollywood said: “That’s a loaded question. Obviously, I love the programme, love it.

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Paul Hollywood with fellow Bake Off judge Prue Leith and presenter Matt Lucas (C4/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon/PA)

“It is one of the best jobs I’ve ever done. There is a huge backlash because if it was a programme that was reaching two and a half to three million people every programme, you would not necessarily get your private life being put through the tabloids.”

He added: “I think that is the downside of it, you are watched under a microscope, unfairly so, in a sense of I’m not a politician, I’m not a judge. I judge sponges on it, it just happened to be quite a big programme.

“I find that really difficult because I’m quite a private person anyway. So would I have done it, I would think very, very carefully, I would be very reticent.”

Hollywood went on to reveal that he does not particularly enjoy being in the public eye and has become more self-conscious since finding fame.

I tend to keep to myself to myself nowadays and I think that is the downside and it has changed me from that perspectivePaul Hollywood

“I tend to get very nervous going into cities with lots of people and I think it has made me that way now,” he said.

“I never used to be like that but now I have become very insular, sort of looking over my glasses, wearing a beanie, keeping my head down.

“I tend to keep to myself to myself nowadays and I think that is the downside and it has changed me from that perspective.”

However, Hollywood did credit being on the show with allowing him to develop a thicker skin, particularly after The Great British Bake Off moved to Channel 4.

The show originally aired on BBC Two, and remained on the channel for four series.

After gaining popularity, it was moved to BBC One for for the following three series.

In 2017 the programme moved to Channel 4 and despite the departure of fellow original judge Mary Berry, Hollywood moved with the show.

Chef and restaurateur Prue Leith replaced Berry to judge alongside Hollywood.

Speaking to Forrest about the experience, Hollywood said: “I mean I have grown quite a thick skin now and I sort of brush it off and go, ‘whatever, it is fine’ but it did affect me, yeah for sure, and it probably has damaged me to a point.”

Scala Radio is available on digital radio across the UK and on the Scala Radio app.



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