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Hollywood: Baker Ruby 'not my type'
The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has denied giving preferential treatment to 21-year-old contestant Ruby Tandoh because of her looks.
The TV judge spoke out after fans of the hit BBC Two show pointed to an on-screen flirtation between the pair.
Paul, 47, who judges Bake Off with Mary Berry, dismissed as "rubbish" the suggestion that former model Ruby's appearance had improved her chances on the show.
"Personally I think (fellow contestant) Kimberley's far prettier. With all the love in the world, Ruby's not my type," he told the Radio Times.
"But she's a great baker, one of the most talented bakers who has walked in that tent."
The judge, who left Alexandra, 49, his wife of 15 years, amid an attempt to launch his career in the US and reports of a relationship with his US co-star Marcela Valladolid, 35, added: "My job is to judge what goes on the plate. Always has been, always will be.
"I don't judge the person - Mary will back me up on this - because it's not one judge doing this. It's two. And we both say the same thing."
Paul said that it was coincidence that the fourth series of the hit show will have no men in the final.
"We had an all-male final last year, and an all-women final the year before," he said.
"There's no difference between male and female bakers. All I'm thinking of are the bakes. It's by the by what sex the bakers are."
Meanwhile, Ruby, who is studying for a philosophy degree, said that she was not bothered by accusations of favouritism.
"It's easy to brush it off because I know how it was in the tent - and there was no favouritism. It was all very fair so that doesn't get to me very much," she said.
Publishers are said to be preparing to approach the Essex-born student to write a cookery book, which could lead to her own TV show.
Asked whether she thought Paul was a sex symbol, Ruby told student magazine The Tab: "Not for me! Not my thing but, you know, for other people maybe that's what they go for."
Meanwhile, fellow contestant Frances Quinn, 31, said that the bakers were taking Rescue Remedy, a natural flower solution, to get them through the show.
"I feel bad because I'm the one that started the trend for it. I became Ruby's feeder! You're only meant to have a few drops. We'd jokingly go, 'A few drops, or a few shots?'," she told the Radio Times.