Last week was the final of The Great British Bake Off. It was the closest I’ve felt to being a football fan whose team has won the league when Guisseppe lifted the winner’s cake stand. However, there has been one niggling factor about this programme that has been dangerously close to ruining this series for me: Paul Hollywood.
Paul Hollywood has been a judge on The Great British Bake Off since it first started in 2010. He even stayed as a judge on the programme throughout its move from the BBC to Channel 4. Despite Mel, Sue and Mary Berry leaving due to loyalty to the BBC. Don’t get me wrong, Paul knows his stuff. He and Mary did work well as a judging duo. But I believe it is time for him to move on.
The Great British Bake Off would be better without Paul Hollywood, and I have my reasons.
Firstly, there’s the issue of the corrupt handshake economy. Since series three, Paul has been rewarding any especially good bakes with a ‘Hollywood Handshake’. He claims this signifies the contestant crossing the line between amateur and professional. Over time these handshakes have only grown in prestige. They lead to shocked gasps and thumbs up from fellow bakers each time they are seen.
Before this series started there had been a total of thirty-seven handshakes given out by Paul, averaging just over four handshakes per series. However, in this series semi-final, three handshakes were given out in just one challenge. The answer to why this is bad news for Paul lies in the answer to the question, why can’t we just make more money? Because the money would decrease in value. If Paul’s handshakes have dramatically decreased in value, then so has one of the key aspects of his TV personality.
Furthering the handshake debacle, in the challenge that wrecked Paul’s handshake economy forever, I believe there was malicious, planned intent against Jurgen. It may be a good time to point out that Jurgen was my favourite. So yes, I am slightly biased. But, as every primary school teacher knows, you can’t just leave someone out like that. Jurgen was a brilliant baker and deserved better than he got, which was not a handshake. Especially as Prue later said that she would have given him a handshake. This shows that his baking must have been equally as good as the others.
Talking of Prue, this brings me on to my next point. Prue deserves better. That’s it, that’s my point.
And I know that the man has blue eyes but a plain blue shirt Paul? This is the Bake Off final, not a shift at WHSmith’s. Take some inspiration from Prue and Noel because frankly, your fashion sense bores me.
Lastly, and probably my most logically driven point, Paul’s speciality is in bread. Yet, when Crystelle’s focaccia had no rise and in fact was raw, he said he didn’t know how that had happened. Making a helpless guess, Paul reached for the excuse that she didn’t have her oven on. It was obvious to all that it had been on. Now I’m no baking expert myself – though I felt like one telling Guisseppe to take his cinnamon buns out the oven when they were evidently burning – but I have a theory. Crystelle could be seen with her focaccia before it went in the oven and that dough was swimming in oil. It wasn’t being baked in the oven; it was having a bath. Now if I can see that, as someone who hasn’t made focaccia in my life, then surely Paul should have noticed, given he’s the lord high God of bread or something.
I hope I have made my point here that Paul needs to leave Bake Off. He’s been good, but it’s time for someone new. Someone with different expertise, a willingness to listen to Prue and better fashion sense. My suggestions are Liam Charles, a current judge on Junior Bake Off, Nadia Hussain, a past Bake Off winner or Wu Pao Chun. I suggest the latter purely because I searched up famous bakers online and he came up next to these really cool looking buns he’d made.
Now I’m no expert baker, as I’m sure I’ve made clear, but I’ve stated my argument as to why The Great British Bake Off needs to switch up its judging panel. And I hope you agree. Maybe we can work together to get a new, more stylish judge and, through doing so, make the future world a better place.