How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (2023)

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (1)

Over the last few series of The Great British Baking Show, Paul Hollywood’s propensity for handshake praise appears to have increased dramatically. A handshake from the longest-tenured judge is meant to be the absolute highest praise for a single bake.

But the eagerness with which Paul has started pumping hands inspired a fair bit of viewers who say Paul is watering himself down. So, exactly how many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? When did the Hollywood Handshake start? And is Paul really still shaking hands at a furious clip?

It may surprise you to learn that the total number of Hollywood Handshakes given out so far is 37. The Great British Baking Show has been on for eleven series, so that’s an average of just 3.36 handshakes per year.

Even when you consider that Paul didn’t give his first handshake until Series Three, that’s still only 4.1 Hollywood Handshakes per year. And Paul and Prue judge approximately 225 bakes per season.

By that metric, it remains an extremely rare occurrence.

But Paul started giving out handshakes a lot more frequently after TGBBS moved from the BBC to ITV following Series Seven. The Eighth and Ninth Series had the highest number of handshakes — by far — of any that have aired so far. (The season-by-season handshake specifics are coming a little bit later in the article.)

Buzzfeed’s famous 2018 article on Paul’s handshakes began by asking whether Paul was being too free with his praise.

The following year, a critical Vulture piece dubbed Paul’s now-infamous gesture “the absolute worst.”

Paul himself even acknowledged that he needed to pull back on his overshaking ways. During a 2018 appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, Paul addressed the controversy.

“The handshake came from when they looked very professional, and they almost cross that line from being amateur to professional,” Paul said. “What I’ve done is I’ve realized [the contestants] are all moving up in standard, so I’ve got to move my barrier up. So that’s exactly what I do — I raise the bar and then no one gets over the top of it.”

When did the Hollywood Handshake start? Who got the first Hollywood Handshake?

The first two seasons of The Great British Baking Show featured no handshakes at all. It wasn’t until the seventh episode of Series Three — Sweet Dough Week — that Paul gave his very first handshake.

The lucky recipient of the first Hollywood Handshake was Ryan Chong, for his Lardy Buns. How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (2)

But this almost doesn’t count as a proper Hollywood Handshake. If you watch the scene now, what’s striking is that no one seems to make a big deal out of it.

(Video) Tanya Gets a Paul Hollywood Handshake - The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition

Ryan barely moves. Neither Sue nor Mel gasp. None of the other contestants exchange shocked looks. And no one applauds.

With one notable exception, however. Ryan’s fellow contestant Danny Bryden definitely appreciated the moment:

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (3)

But at the time, there was no mystique around the handshake. It was just…a handshake. Job well done, for sure — and nothing more than that.

Hollywood Handshakes by Season: The Complete List

Before give a rundown of each one of the Hollywood Handshakes, here’s a quick list of the total number Paul has given each year.

  • Series Three (“The Beginnings” on Netflix): One handshake
  • Series Four (Collection 2 on Netflix): One handshake
  • Series Five (Collection 1 on Netflix): Two handshakes
  • Series Six (Collection 3): Three handshakes
  • Series Seven (Collection 4): Four handshakes
  • Series Eight (Collection 5): Seven handshakes
  • Series Nine (Collection 6): Twelve handshakes
  • Series Ten (Collection 7): Four handshakes
  • Series Eleven (Collection 8): Three handshakes

Series Four’s lone handshake belongs to Frances Quinn. It’s appropriate, as Frances was that season’s overall winner. Her handshake came during French Week — also the semifinal episode — for her Choux Pastry Tomatoes, Chantenay Carrots, and Cauliflower Cheese Scones.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (4)

“Lovely, lovely, lovely,” said Paul, after tasting Frances’ dish. He seemed most impressed by her Cauliflower Cheese Scones.

Again, though, it’s not quite a Hollywood Handshake. Frances seems very happy, but no one else *reacts* in the way that we’ve come to expect.

Series Five’s two handshakes both came early in the season. Norman Calder earned the first, for his Farthing Biscuits during Biscuit Week.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (5)

“I like that. I like that biscuit a lot,” Paul told Norman. “I like the recipe, the way you’ve approached it…Well done.”

And the dearly departed Luis Troyano, who made it all the way to the final, won the second. Luis got a handshake for his Opposites Attract Bread during Bread Week.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (6)

(Video) Sandi Toksvig receives one of Paul Hollywood's famous handshakes

“Very clever,” Paul told Luis, upon initial inspection of his bread. “Very clever. And it is baked very, very well — I can see that.”

After taking a bite, Paul’s praise only intensified: “Pure alchemy. I was thinking too many flavors, but, do you know what?” (Handshake.) “Well done, mate. Well done.”

The first handshake of Series Six was also the first one to get something of a proper Hollywood reception. Paul had a handshake for Paul Jagger and his Bread Week contribution of Cranberry & Orange Sweet Soda Bread.

“That’s excellent,” Paul told him. “The orange comes through; your texture’s good; the bake’s pretty much perfect. For a sweet soda bread…yeah, I’ll have another piece of that.”

Then, after granting a handshake, it was Mel who said, “Oh, the handshake.”

Mel repeated her reverent words after Tamal Ray got a handshake for his Middle Eastern Game Pie during Victorian Week.

And eventual winner Nadiya Hussain was the first Great British Baking Show contestant to freak out a little bit about it. After Nadiya got a handshake for her Peanut Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart in Chocolate Week semifinal, she whisper-shouted, “Handshake! I got a handshake!”

The first two Hollywood Handshakes of Series Seven went to Tom Gilliford and Selasi Gbormittah. Tom got his on Biscuit Week for baking Chai Frappelattechino Biscuits; Selasi’s handshake was for Perfect Sunday Roast Accompaniment during Batter Week.

Next, eventual winner Candice Brown got the first-ever handshake during a Baking Show final.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (7)

The handshake Candice got for her Queen Victoria’s Mango and Strawberry Crown Cake marked another first. It was the debut on-screen use of the term “Hollywood Handshake” (so dubbed by Sue).

Then, just a minute later, Jane Beedle got the second-ever Hollywood Handshake during a final, for her Red White and Blue Meringue Crown.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (8)

After taking three huge bites of Jane’s cake, and smiling wider each time, Paul could only tell her, “Thank you. Three layers of heaven. It’s beautiful.”

(Video) The Great British Bake Off - Hollywood Handshake (feat. Rustage)

Series Eight is where things start to get really crowded. There were seven handshakes that year, and we’re going to resort to list form to give them to you.

The Great British Baking Show Series Eight handshake recipients:

  • Sophie Faldo, for her Pineapple and Coconut Sandwich Cake (Cake Week)
  • Steven Carter-Bailey, for his Bonfire Night Cake (also during Cake Week)
  • Liam Charles, for his Salted Peanut Butter Millionaire Shortbreads (Caramel Week)
  • Steven a second time, for his Lemon & Blackcurrant Drizzle Steamed School Pudding (Pudding Week)
  • Yan Tsou, for her Mango Fruit Hat Steamed School Pudding (also during Pudding Week)
  • Stacey Hart, for her Bakewell Tart Steamed School Pudding (again during Pudding Week)
  • Stacey a second time, for her Camembert & Onion and Apple & Blueberry Bedfordshire Clangers (Forgotten Bakes Week)

One item of note: Series Seven’s Pudding Week was the first time there were three Hollywood Handshakes in a single week. It’s since happened twice more, both times during…

…Series Nine! This is where — if you’re an old-schooler — the Hollywood Handshakes really got out of control. Paul’s twelve handshakes this year are by far the most he’s ever given in a single series.

Once again, we’ve got to employ a list:

  • Dan Beasley-Harling, for his Black Forest Slice (Cake Week)
  • Rahul Mandal, for his Chocolate Orange Layer Cake, also during Cake Week. (Rahul’s handshake was the first one ever given out during the Showstopper Challenge.)
  • Ruby Bhogal, for her Chocolate Orange “Jackson Pollock” Collar Cake, also during Cake Week. (Immediately after Rahul, Ruby received the second Showstopper Challenge Hollywood Handshake. To date, these are the only Showstopper handshakes Paul has given.)
  • Dan Beasley-Harling, for his Sticky Spiced Orange Chelsea Buns (Bread Week)
  • Dan Beasley-Harling, for his Florida Roulade (Dessert Week)
  • Jon Jenkins, for his Mango and Passion Fruit Roulade (also during Dessert Week)
  • Rahul Mandal, for his Bonfire Night Caramel Ginger Cake (Spice Week)
  • Kim-Joy Hewlett, for her Stem Ginger Cake with Poached Pears (also during Spice Week)
  • Manon Lagrève, for her Italian Meringue Ginger Cake (again during Spice Week)
  • Ruby Bhogal, for her Traditional Samosas (Pastry Week)
  • Rahul Mandal, for his Paneer Singara and Misti Singara (also during Pastry Week)
  • Kim-Joy, for her Broccoli & Tomato Quiches and Mascarpone Squirrel Tartlets (Vegan Week)

Several items of note here. First off, Dan is to date the only TGBBS contestant to get a handshake three episodes in a row.

In addition, Dan and Rahul, who got three handshakes each during Series Nine, are the contestants with the most handshakes in Great British Baking Show history.

Rahul’s Pastry Week handshake was particularly high-powered, as it was technically the show’s only double handshake. Paul was too busy enjoying Rahul’s bake to say anything at first — so co-host Prue Leith took it upon herself to start heaping the praise.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (9)

Prue reached across the island, took Rahul by both hands, and told him, “If [Paul] doesn’t put his hand out, and give you a handshake, I’m going to kill him.”

Paul seemed happy to do so.

Finally, Kim-Joy’s Vegan Week handshake almost came with an asterisk. Paul really did not want to give this handshake, and even took his hand back before extending it again.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (10)

This was partly because it was Vegan Week, an occasion Paul had been dreading. We’re guessing it was also partly because by this point, Paul had already admitted he was being a bit free with his handshakes.

(Video) Paul Hollywood's coveted handshake is trademarked by Great British Bake Off bosses 388645

Series 10 saw four Hollywood Handshakes. Michael Chakraverty got the first, for his Bread Week contribution of Keralan Star Bread Tear & Share.

Next up was David Atherton, whose Fancy Custards during Roaring 20s week Paul called “a perfect custard pie.” After that came Steph Blackwell, for her Zest and Spice Hot Cross Buns during Festival Week.

And the fourth and final *and* most infamous handshake of the season belonged to Henry Bird, for his Chocolate Kardemummabullar (also during Festival Week). Henry, who had clearly not been expecting much, was so shocked when Paul reached his hand across that he said, “No. Shut up.”

Before the Eleventh Series, there had been widespread speculation that Paul would temporarily discontinue his handshakes. The theory was that stringent hygiene protocols stemming from the coronavirus pandemic meant Paul needed to swear off handshakes until Series Twelve.

However, the entire cast and crew of The Great British Baking Show went into strict quarantine to produce its 2020 episodes. And as of this writing, there have been three Hollywood Handshakes so far this year.

The first was for Lottie Bedlow, whose Quaranting Florentines dominated Biscuit Week. “I can’t find a fault with them, really,” Paul told her, literally turning her cookies over and back to try and spot some.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (11)

Next, Hermine got a handshake for her My Favourite Flavors Soda Bread during Bread Week.

And the most recent Paul Hollywood Handshake so far was for Peter Sawkins and his Thai Curry and Salmon Quiches during 80s Week.

The Great British Baking Show airs Tuesday evenings on ITV in Britain and Fridays on Netflix for the rest of the world.

(Photo credits: Netflix)

John Sharp is Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. Tips: E-mail john@starcasm.net or Twitter @john_starcasm.

How many handshakes has Paul given on The Great British Baking Show? (12)

(Video) Great British Bake Off viewers outraged after Paul Hollywood dishes out three coveted handshakes

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FAQs

Has Paul ever given a handshake for a Showstopper? ›

Instead, Hollywood extended his hand to Mandal and said, "I've never given a handshake for a showstopper before. That is a fantastic cake.

Who did Paul sleep with on Great British baking show? ›

Alexandra and Paul Hollywood's marriage hit a rocky road in 2013 when The Great British Baking Show got its American version, The American Baking Competition. The shooting for the CBS show lasted four and a half weeks, during the span of which Hollywood had an affair with his co-judge, American chef Marcela Valladolid.

Do The Great British Baking Show contestants get paid? ›

You aren't paid to appear on the show. Whether you win or not, bakers invest quite a bit of personal time to be on the show. However, they aren't financially compensated for their time.

Who is the most successful British baking show winner? ›

It's been 12 years since Edd Kimber was crowned the first ever GBBO winner in 2010, and since then, he has become a successful food writer, with six cookbooks out, and a reported net-worth of £3.1million.

Did Jurgen get a Hollywood handshake? ›

Prue Leith loved your final bakes and said it was a pity she wasn't the one who gives out handshakes. (In the semi-final, Jürgen was the only baker not to get a Paul Hollywood handshake.)

Who got first Paul Hollywood handshake? ›

T he first 'Hollywood handshake' of the series is always a huge occasion on The Great British Bake Off. Pantomime producer Lottie became the first contestant to receive the coveted seal of approval from judge Paul Hollywood in the second episode of series 11.

Does Paul Hollywood have his own bakery? ›

Welcome to KNEAD, Paul Hollywood's new Bakery at London Euston Station.

Who is Paul Hollywood's ex wife? ›

What kind of accent does Paul Hollywood have? ›

According to the Independent, the host's heritage shows that he has some Scottish roots, with relatives heralding from the Highlands and Glasgow. Smooth Radio reports that he was born in Wallasey, on the Wirral in the U.K., a place where the BBC explains the scouse accent is prevalent.

Who pays for the food on the Great British Baking show? ›

Come showtime, production handles buying everything, including any last-minute ingredients bakers might need for their bakes. "People normally have 12–20 ingredients, but it varies," said Faenia Moore, the program's home economist, told the BBC. "Frances Quinn had 124 for her cake in the final."

Why is British baking show in a tent? ›

Executive producer Anne Beattie came up with the idea for the white tent when she was creating the show. Beattie wanted to make sure the show had a particular aesthetic. According to Mashed, she was drawn toward a “village fete” theme. RELATED: Do Contestants on 'The Great British Bake Off' Get Paid?

How much does Paul make on Great British baking show? ›

Paul Hollywood

Scouser Paul was believed to be getting £1.2million over three years from 2017 to 2020 to be the main judge. This meant he bagged £400,000 a series, after getting less than £100,000 a year at the BBC.

Who is the most popular contestant on The Great British Baking Show? ›

Nadiya Hussain takes the number one top spot as the most successful Great British Bake Off contestant. Since leaving the show, she has written various newspaper columns, fronted the TV show 'The Chronicles of Nadiya', appeared in over 115 TV shows, and become a guest presenter on Loose Women.

Who got the most Star Baker in Great British Bake Off? ›

1 Candice Brown (Series 7) - 3 Star Baker Wins

Candice has since bought a pub and become a successful author and television personality, releasing two cookbooks and cooking on many British daytime television shows.

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Allegations of cheating, custard-stealing and freezer-rejigging have also rocked the show, making it one of the most scandalous TV competitions ever. Ahead of Tuesday night's hotly-anticipated finale, let's take a look back at some of the wildest controversies Bake Off has seen.

Did Jurgen serve dropped sausage rolls? ›

Despite dropping them on the floor, Jurgen continued to use the pastries he had made and served them to Paul and Prue without telling them. After tasting his sausage rolls, Prue commented: “They're a bit big and clumsy, aren't they?” to which Paul replied: “The colour looks nice though, it's a bit dry.”

What happened with Paul and Jurgen? ›

Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood apologised to Jurgen after admitting that they had decided to 'Anglicise' a challenge on this week's show, despite it being 'German week'. The fifth episode in this year's series saw the GBBO contestants embracing treats from Germany, as they whipped up some impressive bakes.

Is Chigs single? ›

While the contestant has kept his love life firmly under wraps on social media, it does appear that he is single. When Chigs is not baking, he likes to spend time with his nephews who make regular appearances on his Instagram.

What does a Paul Hollywood handshake mean? ›

Paul Hollywood is a judge on The Great British Bake Off, who is known for his discerning eye and palate. On the show, he offers what's referred to as the "Hollywood Handshake" if a creation is particularly delicious or impressive.

Is Paul Hollywood colorblind? ›

It's surprising Paul can tell, given that it was only revealed in this series that he's actually colourblind. So in all these series of Bake Off, has he not been able to see the often garish colours of the icing on the showstopper cakes? 'It's only shades of green and some blues,' he explains.

Are James Martin and Paul Hollywood friends? ›

As well as the queen of baking Mary Berry, other close famous friends of Paul's includes TV chef and presenter James Martin.

Is Paul Hollywood a real chef? ›

Paul John Hollywood (born 1 March 1966) is an English celebrity chef and television presenter, widely known as a judge on The Great British Bake Off since 2010. Hollywood began his career at his father's bakery as a teenager and went on to serve as head baker at a number of British and international hotels.

Is Paul from Great British Bake Off married? ›

Is Mary married to Paul? ›

'" Mary and Paul eventually went on to marry in 1966, but only after antique dealer Paul proposed three times. The couple welcomed children Thomas, Annabel and William, but William sadly passed away in a car crash at the age of 19.

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Why did Summer Monteys-Fullam and Paul Hollywood split? The couple split in August 2019, with a source at the time saying “it's over for good". It was reported that Summer was furious with his "controlling behaviour". messages and explicit photos from admirers vying for her attention.

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In the 2021 season, we are constantly delighted by Lizzie Acker. With her thick Liverpool accent and thrilling ensemble choices, we can't get enough. And now we have yet another reason to love her.

Does Paul Hollywood wear colored contacts? ›

'Great British Bake Off' judge Paul Hollywood doesn't wear colored contacts.

Does Paul Hollywood have a restaurant? ›

He closed his bread empire in 2014. The Paul Hollywood Artisan Bread company opened in 2007 and closed seven years later. "It's a huge headache and massive problem because I wasn't there enough," he explained then. His television commitments kept him from keeping it afloat.

Is Paul from Great British Bake Off married? ›

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Is Noel on Bake Off married? ›

Noel has been dating his long-term girlfriend Lliana Bird since 2010, however, they are not thought to be married.

Is Paul Hollywood colorblind? ›

It's surprising Paul can tell, given that it was only revealed in this series that he's actually colourblind. So in all these series of Bake Off, has he not been able to see the often garish colours of the icing on the showstopper cakes? 'It's only shades of green and some blues,' he explains.

Is Paul Hollywood a real chef? ›

Paul John Hollywood (born 1 March 1966) is an English celebrity chef and television presenter, widely known as a judge on The Great British Bake Off since 2010. Hollywood began his career at his father's bakery as a teenager and went on to serve as head baker at a number of British and international hotels.

Why did Mary Berry leave Great British Bake Off? ›

Why *did* Mary Berry leave the Great British Baking Show? Mary Berry left The Great British Baking Show out of loyalty to the BBC. When the show moved from the BBC to another network, Channel 4, she decided to stay with the BBC.

Does Paul Hollywood have a partner now? ›

Why did Paul Hollywood split? ›

They first split in 2013 after he reportedly had an affair with his American Baking Competition co-star, Marcela Valladolid. The celebrity chef and the cookbook author reconciled shortly afterwards before announcing their split once again in 2017.

How old is Paul Hollywood? ›

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GBBO contestants pay for ingredients themselves

Yup, that's right; they only get their ingredients provided when they reach the finals - which makes things pretty expensive. Particularly as they use between 12-20 ingredients per bake.

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Mel is married to TV director and LAMDA teacher Ben Morris and they have two daughters. While Sue started a relationship with TV presenter Anna Richardson in 2014, but they have reportedly now 'split up'.

Are Sue and Mel friends? ›

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Who is the weird guy on the Great British baking show? ›

Noel Fielding (/ˈnoʊl/; born 21 May 1973) is an English actor and comedian. He is best known for his work with The Mighty Boosh comedy troupe alongside Julian Barratt in the 2000s, and more recently as a co-presenter of The Great British Bake Off since 2017. He is known for his dark and surreal comedic style.

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