Now GBBO judge Paul Hollywood has reacted to the news. Paul, who has been with the show since it began in 2010, said he was “really upset” to hear his friend would be leaving the show. But he also said he is looking forward to working with her replacement, comedian and Baked Potato legend Matt Lucas.
“It was a surprise and I was really upset,’ Paul said in an interview with Radio Times. “I’m very fond of Sandi. She was never too busy to sit down, have a chat and put the world to rights. We shared a couple of drinks and had some good times together. I’m going to miss her. Matt’s going to be amazing. I’ve been a big fan for many years and his humour gets me laughing out loud.”
It’s no surprise that Paul will miss Sandi. Ever since the show’s move to Channel 4, the fab four of Sandi, Noel Fielding, Paul and Prue Leith has made a brilliant on-screen team, winning rave reviews for their natural chemistry. Sandi paid tribute to her colleagues in her statement, saying that spending time with them has been, “one of the great pleasures of [her] life”. She added that “these are friendships I know will continue beyond the confines of television”.
Paul also spoke about the chances of Bake Off airing in 2020, after filming was postponed due to the current circumstances. “It depends on when the lockdown is lifted,” he says. “If we can get started, we could turn around the programme pretty quickly and still have it out in late summer or early autumn.”
While Sandi left to pursue other projects, Paul has found time to film additional series alongside Bake Off. Paul Hollywood Eats Japan doesn’t actually see him digesting an entire nation, but instead he’s touring the country, sampling its culinary delights and learning that Japan has much more to offer than sushi and noodles.
The full interview with Paul is in this week’s Radio Times magazine, out on Tuesday 28 April.
Paul’s new series, Paul Hollywood Eats Japan starts on Tuesday night on Channel 4 at 9pm. To see what else is on check out our TV Guide.