Belfast Telegraph

Paul Hollywood terrifies Bake Off hopefuls with theme tune joke

The Great British Bake Off's authenticity is what makes it such an appealing show for all generations, claims judge Mary Berry.

Paul Hollywood plays The Great British Bake Off theme tune when he's in the famous tent to scare the contestants.

The 50-year-old silver fox judges hopefuls' offerings on the BBC show alongside Mary Berry. Paul has built up something of a reputation as the "mean judge" on the programme, and does little to dispel this when he's on the set.

"I like to remind the contestants where they are by playing the Bake Off theme tune on my phone as they walk into the tent," Paul told the Sunday Mirror newspaper. "They freak out as it suddenly dawns on them that they’re on the show."

Despite this admission, Paul insists the way he sometimes comes across on screen is all about editing and in real life he is much more friendly and approachable to the contestants.

"The big horrible person that I am? What you don’t see is I’ll go and have a quiet word with a contestant when they get really down," he added. "Last year I whispered to (2015 winner) Nadiya Hussain 'It’s only a baking show, it doesn’t matter.' I’ll tell the crew to turn the cameras off first, or I’ll swear as I walk up to the contestant so they can’t film me."

The new series of The Great British Bake Off kicks off on Wednesday (24Aug16), with a whole host of bakers hoping to impress Paul and Mary. But when it comes to filming the series, the judges take their roles very seriously - so much so that they don't engage with the contestants away from the set.

"The bakers stay in another hotel. We never see them, we never have a meal with them, and we don’t pass the time of day with them," Mary said. "Because it’s very easy to hear a little home story and to have a favourite, and we, as judges, have to be fair."

Bake Off looks set to be more successful than ever with the new series. And Mary thinks she knows just what it is that makes it so appealing to people of all ages.

"I’m not surprised it’s so popular, because there are so many things on television that aren’t authentic – they’re all noise and drama," Mary said.

"It’s just a nice show, through and through, and there isn’t another like it where the whole family will sit in a row, from baby to grandmother, and be enthralled by it."

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