Paul Hollywood stays with The Great British Bake Off - but will he survive without Mary Berry?

Paul Hollywood continues as a judge on The Great British Bake Off, but how will he get on without Mary Berry?

Paul Hollywood (Getty)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Following news that Mary Berry will be leaving The Great British Bake Off, it has been announced that her judging partner Paul Hollywood will be staying with the show. 

Many are wondering how Hollywood will fair without his sidekick Berry, especially without presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, who will also leave the programme when it moves to Channel 4.

As any Hollywood fans will know, it's not the first time he has fronted a show solo - and certainly not the first time he's faced a major challenge in his working life.

The first challenge came when Hollywood was a kid, and had to work round the clock at his father's bakery. From these humble origins he dragged himself up to become head baker at a number of high-profiles hotels, including The Cliveden Hotel and The Dorchester. You don't get that sort of gig unless you've got talent and application in equal measure.

Since rising to fame on The Great British Bake Off, he's presented his own cookery shows on the BBC - which may well prove ideal preparation for his new role as the GBBO frontman.

In 2013 he presented Paul Hollywood's Bread, which ran for one series on BBC Two, teaching viewers how to create different types of bread from all over the world. He then moved to BBC One later that same year presenting Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds, travelling around the country to find local recipes and showing some of his own.

In addition he's appeared on shows such as Top Gear, 8 out of 10 Cats and Who Do You Think You Are?, showing his willingness to throw himself into new challenges.

Yet, ominously, he tasted failure in arguably the biggest role he has had outside Bake Off.

In 2013 Hollywood was asked to front a US spin-off of GBBO called The American Baking Competition, which sees 10 amateur bakers compete to win $250,000. But the show flopped and Hollywood was quickly canned, with critics complaining they couldn't understand Hollywood's American accent.

At the time the US show was binned, one source was quoted by Mail Online as saying ‘Paul failed to make an impression in America. Over here we like larger-than-life characters, like Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramse. [But] He was too insipid and boring."

One hopes, for Hollywood's sake, that he's learned lessons from that failure. Because now he's going to have to carry one of Britain's most popular television shows, and won't be able to sail along in Mary Berry's slipstream.