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