Paul Hollywood reflects on the backlash he received after joining the newly formed Bake Off show on Channel 4 last year.
When the Great British Bake Off was acquired by Channel 4 in 2016, baker Paul Hollywood was the only TV presenter from the original line-up to join the new show.
Hollywood received a lot of criticism for his decision, and released two statements to clarify why he made the move – without Mary Berry, aka the Queen of Cakes, and fellow presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.
But now, Hollywood has accused his former fellow TV presenters of disloyalty.
“I stayed with Bake Off. The girls abandoned it. But I was the one put under siege,” Hollywood says, in a new interview with the Radio Times.
“I became the most hated man in the country! It’s not fun for someone that doesn’t like being in the limelight. I didn’t set out to be on the telly, I set out to be a good baker. And I didn’t want this…”
When it was announced that Bake Off had been poached by Channel 4 last year, Perkins and Giedroyc - who had been on the show since 2010 - made it clear that their loyalty remained with the BBC, saying:
“We were very shocked and saddened to learn yesterday evening that Bake Off will be moving from its home. We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was.
“The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 million at its peak. We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.”
Berry, also wanted the show to stay with the BBC, saying: “I was never asked to go. I avoided being asked. It was suggested what would happen if I did go to Channel 4, what I would get, the advantages.
“But I didn’t ever have a meeting with them [Channel 4]. I’d made up my mind. To me, it’s an honour to be on the BBC. I was brought up on it.”
In this latest interview, Hollywood also addressed the recent backlash his fellow judge Prue Leith received, after she inadvertently revealed the winner of this year’s Bake Off hours before the show aired.
With 7.7 million people tuning in to watch the final, Hollywood believes it could have been more if Leith hadn’t accidentally revealed the winner - ex army officer Sophie Faldo - on Twitter beforehand.
“I think we could have had much more. Everyone makes a mistake. It was a shame though,” he said.
Images: Rex Features