The Real Reason GBBO Is So Popular, According To Paul Hollywood

Nothing beats the feeling of pulling a fresh bake from the oven, filling your kitchen with delicious smells and knowing you're about to enjoy a scrumptious homemade treat. Though baking isn't the easiest skill to master and can take a lot of time, those with a sweet tooth can still get the cozy, pleasant feeling that comes from whipping up a cake without spending hours in the kitchen. Just turn on the TV, and cooking shows like "The Great British Bake Off" will bring those same feel-good vibes. For many fans of the series, nothing is more relaxing than watching amateur bakers whip up tasty treats, which are then fairly judged by Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood in the white tent.

According to Well+Good, cooking shows like GBBO are comforting because of the predictability: All episodes have the same format. Plus, watching the contestants make something through the course of an episode can give viewers a sense of accomplishment without ever having to preheat their oven. Still, Hollywood has a different take on why GBBO is so popular, believing it has more to do with fond memories.

Hollywood credits nostalgia for GBBO's success

As a guest on The View, Paul Hollywood explained why he thinks so many people love "The Great British Bake Off." Chalking it up to nostalgia, the baking judge said he believes that tuning in to an episode takes you back to when you were younger. When he's on set, for example, he recalls his mom and dad baking together when he was a child. According to NPR, Hollywood grew up in an apartment above his family's bakery, "in a flat that always smelled of bread." Considering his father's profession, it makes sense why Hollywood would end up an esteemed baker himself, though it was surprisingly not Hollywood's first career choice.

Commenters on the video of Hollywood's "The View" appearance had similar ideas. One person said that GBBO "shows a nice side to British culture," referring to the contestants' friendly, kind-spirited demeanor — and perhaps the tranquil setting of the competition tent in the British countryside. Conjuring up happy memories for Hollywood and others, there's no denying the distinctly British nostalgia the show gives off. However, U.S. audiences love the show, too, so much that it was among the country's "top-10 most streamed shows" in 2020 (via The Telegraph). Considering the universal appeal of childhood joie de vivre, it's likely that Hollywood's nostalgia theory applies to GBBO fans all over the world.