A "Bake Off" Investigation Into Whether Paul Hollywood Is Giving Out Too Many Hollywood Handshakes

    This article involved me watching every single episode of Bake Off that has ever existed in under 24 hours. My head hurts.

    Journalists tend to get their stories initially from readers — tipoffs and leads pushing them to dig deeper.

    Here is the sort of request that I receive.

    There has been widespread speculation that Paul is now dishing out his Hollywood Handshakes far too frequently. It has become a popular talking point among viewers.

    Now continue to scroll as I go through the handshakes from every single series of Bake Off.

    SERIES 1: ZERO Hollywood Handshakes.

    SERIES 2: ZERO Hollywood Handshakes.

    SERIES 3: One Hollywood Handshake.

    SERIES 4: One Hollywood Handshake

    SERIES 5: Two Hollywood Handshakes

    SERIES 6: Three Hollywood Handshakes

    SERIES 7: Four Hollywood Handshakes

    SERIES 8: Seven Hollywood Handshakes

    After the first Channel 4 series, things have got a little bit out of hand.

    AND FINALLY, SERIES 9: Dan got one during the Cake Week Signature Challenge and then, in a dramatic scene, Rahul got a handshake during a SHOWSTOPPER(!)

    And then Ruby received one for her Showstopper five minutes later. Dan then received two more handshakes (over two separate weeks, obviously). And the current total after just five weeks? EIGHT HANDSHAKES.

    IN CONCLUSION: Are we in the grip of Hollywood Handshake hyperinflation? Yes. Yes, we are.

    And my findings have provoked quite the reaction:

    @scottygb According to data and algorithms, by Series 38 we'll be approaching 830 handshakes per series

    Most of all, I am happy that this investigation is over.

    UPDATE: Paul Hollywood has responded on Twitter.

    @scottygb What you’re forgetting which is crucial is the general standard of baking/bakers has risen year on year.. this is reflected in any praise given🙄

    Hollywood is also due to appear on ITV's Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday and he was asked about the handshakes controversy. He said: “I’ve taken a bit of flack over that. The handshake came from when they looked very professional and they almost cross that line from being amateur to professional. You will see it happen [in a few weeks] the handshakes almost stop.

    "Because what I’ve done is I’ve realised they 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.”