Paul Hollywood has given his first “Hollywood handshake” in the second episode of The Great British Bake Off – seen by fans as the ultimate seal of approval.

Some fans feared that the baker and TV judge would not be doing handshakes because the filming took place during the coronavirus.

But we can reveal he offers his right hand to a contestant for the first time in tonight's show.

A show source said: “Paul loves giving the Hollywood handshake when someone has made something that is incredible. It has become his trademark and many of the contestants want it more than being named star baker.

Who will earn Paul's handshake?

“The baker is shocked when it happens but Paul doesn't make that big a fuss as he has already praised the bake. He simply offers his hand and then walks off leaving the contestant and their rivals open mouthed at what has happened.”

Before the series started there were question marks around whether Paul would dish out handshakes, which he began doing as a seal of approval during series three on BBC1.

But the fears were misplaced as when filming eventually began it took place in a giant bubble with contestants and hosts and crew all staying at Down Hall Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex throughout filming.

It's seen as the ultimate seal of approval

It meant they could interact normally and so Paul could safely shake the hands of contestants.

Ahead of the series he had teased “wait and see” when asked about a handshake.

Prue Leith added: “We won't tell you whether he did or not, but he was certainly allowed to because we were allowed to behave normally.”

Bake Off normally takes around 12 weeks to film, mostly at weekends. This run was shot over six weeks, with two day gaps between episodes and all the contestants given their own practise kitchens off-camera.

Paul will honour one baker tonight

Paul said he'd encountered some of the best baking the show has ever seen – which played havoc with his waistline. “For the first time, I put a bit of weight on this year,” he admitted. "Normally, I’m out on the bikes doing stuff. I put a little bit of weight on - it's really difficult when you're there. You’re eating so much stuff.”

* You can find out who gets the Hollywood handshake during the second episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 tonight at 8pm.