The new series of The Great British Bake Off has the “highest standard” of bakers the show has ever seen, said an “amazed” Paul Hollywood.
The TV judge has also revealed that in one week he gave out four of his “Hollywood handshakes” – his ultimate, and rare, sign of approval.
Hollywood, who is the only returning star of the baking show following its controversial shift from BBC One to Channel 4, said: “Every single week this year has been better than any others we’ve done.
“The standard of the baking this year was annoyingly good. I mean that in a nice way because there were just like, ‘how did you do that? Where did you people come from?’.”
He said contestants impressed in the Bake Off tent with “new techniques, new flavours, new ideas” and how to do things properly.
Having such a high quality of bakers proved tricky for judges, though, with Bake Off stalwart Hollywood admitting it had been tougher than ever before.
He said: “I gave out four handshakes once, one week. That’s never happened again, so I’ve moved the bar up again.”
The Great British Bake Off begins next Tuesday at 8pm.