Ever wondered what hidden pain or past trauma lies behind Paul Hollywood's icy blue eyes? You need wonder no longer, as The Great British Bake-Off judge was the first subject for a new series of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 last night. An old family photograph revealed that Paul inherited those beautiful blues from Norman, his maternal grandfather, with whom he also developed a strong childhood bond following his parents' divorce.
Consequently, the first half of the episode was really one for the Second World War buffs only, as Hollywood retraced Norman's movements overseas as a Royal Artillery sergeant from 1940. He visited significant battle sites in Tunisia and Italy, culminating with a trip to the spot on the Anzio beach where his grandfather was photographed on a 50th-anniversary return trip. There, Hollywood paused to write "Norman Woz Ere" in the sand with a stick: "I'm just happy to have been to places where I felt closer to my Granddad."
It was the episode's second half, however, in which Hollywood reached further back to his Scottish roots, which offered a more satisfying set of WDYTYA surprises. After admiring the heroics of his grandfather, Hollywood was a little put out to learn via historian Dr Bill Knox that his great-great-great-grandfather Kenneth McKenzie had been a "meathead" police officer in Glasgow who was eventually dismissed from the force for drinking on the job.
He was able to take more pride in Kenneth's father. Donald, a Highland "post runner" whose mail delivery route took him 120 miles on foot, every week. "He's a bit like me, to be honest: super-fit," said Hollywood smiling. That smile in itself was an astonishing sight, for those of us more used to the famous Bake-Off death stare.Reuse content