Paul Hol­ly­wood’s Big Con­ti­nen­tal Road trip

Paul Hol­ly­wood on his driv­ing am­bi­tions, Rome-ing around with Strictly’s Bruno and dress­ing like Bond

TV Times - - My TV Times Week - Re­becca Fletcher

Sun­day / BBC2

Paul Hol­ly­wood swaps sour­dough for su­per­cars in a new trav­el­ogue-cum­mo­tor­ing show. This week, he’s in Italy where he takes Bruno To­nioli for a spin.

Paul Hol­ly­wood’s Big Con­ti­nen­tal Road Trip sun­day / bbc2 / 9.00Pm

Paul Hol­ly­wood has a con­fes­sion to make. TV Times has just asked if he prefers cars to bak­ing. Judg­ing by his broad grin, we’re not sure we want to know the an­swer.

‘Racing cars beats bak­ing bread. It does!’ he chuck­les, clearly amused by our mock-shocked ex­pres­sion.

Fans of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous baker needn’t worry, though. Paul still adores baps and buns and will be back on our screens later this year fronting C4’s The Great Bri­tish Bake Off, with new tent-mates Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Field­ing.

For now though, he’s in­dulging his child­hood ob­ses­sion with cars, bomb­ing around Italy, Ger­many

and France in a ridicu­lous amount of su­per­cars for the three­part BBC2 se­ries, Paul Hol­ly­wood’s Big Con­ti­nen­tal Road Trip.

‘It’s my dream job,’ he smiles. ‘I’ve al­ways seen car shows and thought, “I’d love to do that”. Who wouldn’t? Apart from eat­ing cake, you want to drive cars! So it was an easy yes when this came along. I think it comes across on screen how happy I am…’

Over six days and 1,000 miles of mo­tor­ing with celebrity driv­ing com­pan­ions such as Bruno To­nioli, it’s ob­vi­ous Paul is hav­ing a blast as he dis­cov­ers what makes each coun­try tick when it comes to cars. Here, the self-con­fessed petrol head, 51, tells us about his bro­mance with Bruno, 007 makeover and his brush with the Ital­ian po­lice…

What’s the idea be­hind the

Big Con­ti­nen­tal Road Trip? Ba­si­cally we want to get un­der the skin of each coun­try and see how the cars they make and the way they drive re­flects the char­ac­ter of the na­tion. By driv­ing their fastest, finest – and worst – cars, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing peo­ple, places, food and cul­ture on the way, we re­veal their na­tional iden­tity.

Did you choose the coun­tries? When you think of su­per­cars you nat­u­rally think of Italy with its Fer­raris, Pa­ga­nis and Lam­borgh­i­nis, so that had to be in. For engi­neer­ing it was Ger­many and France be­cause they dom­i­nated rally sport for years so we had our three road trips.

There’s a lot of ban­ter in the show… It was pure joy from start to fin­ish. And that was be­cause of the peo­ple that joined me. I had such a gig­gle with Strictly’s Bruno To­nioli, a mad fan of Ital­ian sports cars – we had a real bro­mance go­ing on. Co­me­dian and Ger­manophile, Al Mur­ray, was great fun, too. I took him for a spin on The Nur­bur­gring racing track – fright­ened the life out of him!

Tell us about the first episode, which zooms off in Italy...

We start in Rome. The wise move would have been to hire a sen­si­ble guide to give us a tour of the city – but we get Bruno To­nioli! He tries to teach me to drive like an Ital­ian, but as we’re in a bright or­ange £200,000 Lam­borgh­ini that screams ‘Look at us’, it ends up with Bruno telling me rules are for every­body else and we shouldn’t fol­low them!

Do you have a brush with the law? We get pulled over on the Au­tostrada by the coolest po­lice car I’ve ever seen. It’s a hard­top ver­sion of the Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán we’re driv­ing and the po­lice­man told me that with a top speed of 190mph it’s of­ten used to trans­port or­gans to hos­pi­tals. Your favourite Ital­ian su­per­car... There’s a great Frank Si­na­tra quote, ‘You buy a Fer­rari when you want to be some­body, you buy a Lam­borgh­ini when you are some­body’. I’m with Frank, my hands-down favourite out of the two Ital­ian su­per­cars is the Lam­borgh­ini Miura I drove through the Alps. It’s a work of art.

Talk­ing of works of art, you scrub up pretty well your­self!

In Turin I met a style guru called Eleonora, who let me drive her classy Fiat 500 while ex­plain­ing why style is such a cru­cial part of the Ital­ian iden­tity. I told her I’d been voted the sec­ond worst-dressed man in Bri­tain and she took that as a chal­lenge! I was whisked off to a tai­lor who made Daniel Craig’s suits.

Bet you’re ready for a break from the wheel now…

Never. I’m busy film­ing an­other bak­ing show for C4 and there’s Bake Off, but I’d love to do more road trips. There’s noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than racing cars! Paul Hol­ly­wood’s Big Con­ti­nen­tal Road TRIP Is PRE­VIEWED on Pages 40-41

Pos­ing with

Strictly’s

Bruno

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