Paul Hollywood: “I was a shy child, I never set out to do all of this”

The Bake Off judge talks about his night-time routine and being a petrol-head


You’re settling down for a night on the sofa. Set the scene…


Bath, dressing gown, telly. We’ve got a good old sofa with wide arms and I’ve got my head on a nice cushion. Sometimes I’ll kneel on the sofa and hang over the edge of it to stretch my back out but I end up falling asleep. I’m getting old.

Any food involved?

Ginger biscuits with a cup of tea. You want something simple when your eyes are glued elsewhere.

Who has the more highbrow taste in TV – you or your wife, [cookbook writer, Alex]?

Hard to say. Alex loves Upstairs Downstairs. She watches all the original ones. There are hundreds of episodes – it’s interminable! I’m catching up on The Night Manager and when her back’s turned I’ll watch old series of Top Gear. I’ve seen them all many times, but I love them.

Is your friend Chris Evans up to taking over the helm?

He’s very tight-lipped about it all so I don’t know what to expect. I’m curious to see where they go with it. It’s a big line-up.


You’re a bit of a petrol head, aren’t you?

I’d say so. I could watch Formula One all day. I just like cars going around a track, even though they’ve gone hybrid now so are much quieter than they used to be. They don’t scream as they go past any more, but you just turn the volume up. I never watch my baking shows back but I’ve done a few car shows and I watch those, fast-forwarding through my face and pressing play on the cars.

Do you and your 13-year-old son Josh go for boys’ only spins in your Aston Martin?

Yes, sometimes. We also like to play Xbox games together. He kicks my butt every time at Halo, which is ridiculous given that I race cars [in real life].

Are you a reader or is it all cars and computer games?

I’m not reading a book at the moment, but I’m writing one! It’s called The Weekend Baker. I have a great editor. We sit down and I waffle away over a cup of tea, then she tries to turn it into English and reads it back to me and I say, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t think that sounds like me.” We tinker with it and eventually we get it to sound right.

Would schoolboy Paul ever have thought that he’d end up writing books and starring in the biggest shows on TV?

He wouldn’t have believed you! I was a shy child, I never set out to do all of this. My mum was a good cake maker and my dad was a good baker, so they set me on this path, but the rest found me by accident.


Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes is on Monday at 9pm and 9:30pm on The Food Network