Paul Hollywood Admits He'd Have To 'Think Very Carefully' Before Joining Bake Off Now

The long-serving Great British Bake Off judge has spoken candidly about how he's been affected by fame.
Paul Hollywood at the NTAs in 2020
Paul Hollywood at the NTAs in 2020
Gareth Cattermole via Getty Images

Paul Hollywood has admitted it wouldn’t be an easy decision for him if he were offered his original job on the Great British Bake Off now.

The long-serving judge is the only member of the on-screen Bake Off team to have been with the show since its launch, making the jump from the BBC to Channel 4 in 2017.

In a new interview with Scala Radio, Paul spoke about how he’s been affected by fame since being part of Bake Off, revealing that he’d have to “think very, very hard” about saying yes to the opportunity if it came around again.

Asked how keen he would be to sign up for the show knowing what he knows now, Paul told presenter Mark Forrest he’d asked a “loaded question”.

“Obviously, I love the programme, love it,” he insisted. “It is one of the best jobs I’ve ever done.”

Paul in the Bake Off tent with fellow judge Prue Leith
Paul in the Bake Off tent with fellow judge Prue Leith
via PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

However, he continued: “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.

“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.”

Later in the interview, Paul claimed he’d been “damaged” by the backlash that followed his decision to stay with Bake Off when it moved to Channel 4.

He said: “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.”

Paul and Prue with Bake Off hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas
Paul and Prue with Bake Off hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas
via PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

Last month, Paul claimed he’d become a “hermit” as a result of his Bake Off fame.

The baker explained: “I don’t trust people anymore. I’m really wary of who gets close and I never used to be like that. In fact, I’m a hermit, whereas I used to be the life and soul of the party.

“I was always first down the bowling alley. But now quite often someone suggests going out and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’ll be there,’ and I don’t go.”

Paul added: “There is no school that tells you how to deal with being in the public eye. And however much you think you’re not going to change, it’s impossible to stay the same. I defy anyone to do it.”

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


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