He's known as the more critical of the two judges on The Great British Bake Off, but Paul Hollywood has insisted that he is not as mean as viewers may think. The celebrity chef has said that it's because of the clever editing of the show that he has been branded "Mr Nasty".
Paul, who judges the baking competition with veteran food writer Mary Berry, was speaking at the Radio Times Festival in Hampton Court Palace when he made the admission.
"There have been a couple of times this year where they've cried," said Paul of the contestants. "I walk from the 'altar' [where the bakers serve Paul and Mary the baked goods], and I give them a hug, and I whisper to them, 'It's alright, it's only a baking show. You'll be back for the next challenge. Don't worry.' I walk back, and then they cut all that out!"
Paul Hollywood is known as the more critical of the two judges on The Great British Bake Off
The 49-year-old went on to say that his stinging one-liners are not as harsh as they sound, because editors cut out the lead-up to his criticism.
In spite of the editing, Paul revealed that he is a big fan of the show and watches it religiously – usually at home in his dressing gown, with a cup of tea and a slice of cake at hand. He is most partial to a French Fancy while watching the efforts of the hopeful bakers.
The TV star has been on the BAFTA award-winning show since the summer of 2010, when it first launched. Paul judges alongside 80-year-old Mary, while Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc act as the show's presenters.
"We banter," said Mary Berry. "I respect him on bread, he respects me on cake."
Earlier this year Mary, who has written 70 cookbooks in her career, said it was an "absolute doddle" to judge on GBBO.
"The Bake Off for me is an absolute doddle – I know my subject, I know about cakes," she told The Telegraph just days ahead of her milestone birthday.
"We banter," the baking queen said of her and Paul's rapport. "I respect him on bread, he respects me on cake. He calls me his mother and if he can drop me in it he will, but I have got very good ways of paying him back."