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Paul Hollywood ordered to stop Bake Off handshakes: Accolade scrapped by Channel 4 over coronavirus

For Great British Bake Off contestants, it is the proverbial icing on the cake.

But the accolade of a firm handshake from Paul Hollywood after a stunning showstopper won’t be available this year – due to coronavirus.

Channel 4 chiefs have ordered Hollywood not to offer his hand to the bakers as a reward for excellence as he did seven times during last year’s series.

Channel 4 chiefs have banned Paul Hollywood from offering bakers his famous handshake (above) this year to congratulate them due to coronavirus fears

Channel 4 chiefs have banned Paul Hollywood from offering bakers his famous handshake (above) this year to congratulate them due to coronavirus fears

A Bake Off insider said: ‘It’s a real shame but it isn’t fitting to the world around us to have Paul shaking hands with people.

‘Everyone will be isolated together but you can’t be too careful so they’ll be rested for this year.’

The ‘Hollywood handshake’ did not make an appearance until the third series of the show and featured only once in each of series three and four.

However, they have steadily risen in frequency since then, with an unprecedented seven given in series eight in 2017.

The Bake Off crew, who will be quarantined with the cast for the duration of filming for the new series, are now speculating on whether Hollywood will replace the handshake with an elbow bump or touching of feet.

Earlier this month, The Mail on Sunday revealed that producers had devised the quarantine plan after Hollywood’s fellow judge Prue Leith, 80, was denied insurance due to her age.

They have booked a secret location with grounds where the famous Bake Off tent can once again be erected.

The new series will be co-presented by comedian Matt Lucas, who will join Noel Fielding following the departure of Sandi Toksvig earlier this year. 

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