Great British Bake Off: Paul Holywood insists new show won’t be different

Paul Hollywood with new Bake Off presenters Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith. Picture: Channel 4
Paul Hollywood with new Bake Off presenters Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith. Picture: Channel 4
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Paul Hollywood has insisted that viewers will not notice any difference with The Great British Bake Off “within ten minutes” of the first episode of the new series.

The popular cookery programme was sold last year to Channel 4 after having its home at the BBC since 2010, to the anguish of many fans.

Previous judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins bowed out of the Bake Off with the move, leaving Hollywood as the only original star.

Earlier this year it was confirmed he would be joined by new judge Prue Leith and new presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding.

Ahead of the new Bake Off airing, Hollywood said that fans do not need to be concerned about the change in its line-up, while Fielding has said they had no intention to “sabotage” the show.

“I’ve seen the first programme, you’ll not know the difference within ten minutes,” Hollywood said.

“The first thing I said was ‘Bake Off’s back’ as soon as I watched it.

“Because actually, when you start to see the bakers getting into the challenges, and the music comes in and the tent’s there, you realise actually that’s what Bake Off is.”

Among the contestants taking part is Tom, 29, an architect from Edinburgh who can often be found making fresh shortbread for family and friends. He was taught to bake by his mother, a home economics teacher.

Fielding said: “We’re all just there to help the process and the format, so we’re not trying to sabotage the format or subvert anything.”

Hollywood likened Bake Off to a factory, in that “if you change the staff, the machinery still works”.

He said: “We do Comic Relief, we did that for five years with different presenters every week – it’s the same thing, it’s still Bake Off. Is that Bake Off or not? Of course it is.”

Leith, who previously acted as a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Menu for 11 years, joked that fans of the baking programme are probably the most anxious about Fielding.

The Mighty Boosh star Fielding quipped he is “like finding a spider in a packet of fondant fancies”.

He remarked on other TV programmes undergoing line-up changes, including those which have included both him and Toksvig.

“Sandi does QI now and I don’t think anyone can really remember when Stephen (Fry) did it, it just feels like a perfect transition,” he said.

“Same as when I did Never Mind The Buzzcocks – I replaced Bill Bailey. You know, people go, ‘I love Bill Bailey’, then after two weeks they go, ‘oh, it’s the same show’.”

The Great British Bake Off begins at 8pm today on Channel 4.