Belfast Telegraph

Bake Off's Paul Hollywood turned down Top Gear big-money for Channel 4 move

But baking queen Mary staying with Beeb

By Sherna Noah

Paul Hollywood decided to join The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 despite the BBC approaching him for Top Gear.

The 50-year-old judge is jumping ship for the rival channel even though co-judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are staying put.

A TV source said: "He was offered a significant role on Top Gear. It was serious money. The word is he would only get it if he signed up exclusively to the BBC."

Top Gear relaunched earlier this year with Chris Evans at the helm, but the Radio 2 DJ later quit following falling viewing figures.

A BBC source said there were talks about Top Gear, but not for a full presenting role.

"There were discussions about a guest presenting role for Top Gear - it was not a full presenting role," the source added.

Hollywood has come under fire from fans of the show for moving to Channel 4 after his co-host Berry and the presenters opted not to follow the dough.

The star is getting a rise, with reports that he could be earning £300,000 by making the move. Until now, he is said to have been paid £60,000 per series.

After days of speculation, Berry announced she was saying "farewell to soggy bottoms".

The baking queen (81) who gained national treasure status on the back of the show, decided not to move to the rival broadcaster and said she would stay with the BBC out of loyalty.

But Hollywood, famous for his steely gaze and often dubbed a "silver fox", said he could not "turn my back" on Bake Off, as the white tent is where he belongs. He added: "Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The series inside the tent created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf.

"The Great British Bake Off has brought baking to the nation and we've seen people from all walks of life and backgrounds experience the highs and lows of competition, and more importantly helping each other.

"It's been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn't turn my back on all that - the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget... the squirrels."

Hollywood has faced flak on Twitter for moving to Channel 4, which outbid the BBC for the programme. Jess Taylor wrote: "Badly done Paul Hollywood... badly done. #GBBO."

James Williams said: "Channel 4 have paid £25 million for Paul Hollywood and a tent."

Joey1970 tweeted, "I thinks it's the wrong decision but good luck to you," while Andy Jacksson added: "Not watching Bake-Off just for Paul Hollywood. It's all four of them or nothing."

But Helen McCarthy wrote: "Don't slag off Paul Hollywood, as if you'd turn down millions to eat cake and judge people."

Belfast Telegraph


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