Paul Hollywood said his new Great British Bake Off co-star Prue Leith reminds him of his mother-in-law, and is sure they will get on “like a house on fire”.
The TV baker also defended his decision to remain on the cookery competition programme when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4, saying that he works for a production company, “not a channel”.
The new line-up of the Bake Off was confirmed last week after months of speculation, with veteran chef Prue as a new judge replacing Mary Berry, and Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding stepping into the shoes of departed hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.
Paul told ITV’s Loose Women he thinks the new Bake Off “dynamic” will be a success, but confirmed they have not yet met as a foursome.
He said: “I’m really excited. Obviously it’s a big thing for the country, the Bake Off, and when I heard the names read out, I was really excited.
“I think the whole dynamics of it, when I sat down and thought about it, because I’m a big fan of Noel, and Sandi actually, and Prue, because – Prue, she’s got this huge professional background, working in London for years and I’ve got nothing but respect for Prue, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“We’ve actually met and had a chat, there was something there.
“In fact, she reminds me so much of my mother-in-law. In a fantastic way! I think we’re going to get on like a house on fire.”
He said he was not consulted about the line-up before it was announced, adding: “I did know about Prue, but I didn’t know about the others at all.”
Asked if they had convened as a group, Paul said: “We’re about to, it’s got to be kept so quiet – it’ll be on the moon somewhere!”
Loose Women star Ruth Langsford asked Paul how he felt about the backlash last year over his decision to remain on the show while Mary, Mel and Sue stepped down.
He said: “They were loyal in their own little arenas of what they wanted to do, I was in a different stage of my career.
“And it’s my job, and I love doing the Bake Off. And when it moved channels – I’m with the production company, I don’t work for a channel, I work for a production company – and my job was always there.
“I didn’t want to lose it. They gave me a shot seven years ago, and I grasped it with both hands – why would I want to let it go?”
Paul said he and Mary – who judged the popular programme together for seven series during its run on the BBC – spoke about his decision to stay with the show, which was sold by Love Productions to Channel 4.
He said: “We did talk during it, and I’ve said before, Mary said ‘if I was in your shoes I would have done exactly the same thing’.
“I’m a different stage to Mary, and I just couldn’t let go of that job.”