Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain weighs in on Paul Hollywood’s controversial ‘NHS’ rainbow bagels

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

The Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain was decidedly unimpressed with Paul Hollywood’s claim that rainbow bagels “represent the NHS”.

The beloved Bake Off champion and TV personality was asked to weigh in on “the rainbow bagel debate”, which saw Hollywood roundly mocked on social media for claiming that the rainbow colours commonly associated with LGBT+ Pride actually symbolised the UK’s National Health Service.

“I think the rainbow colours for me, although it originated over in the States, I think it represents the NHS,” Hollywood explained on last week’s episode.

“Well, it does now,” his fellow judge Prue Leith replied with a laugh. They went on to agree that the rainbow bagels are “happy bread”, which was the closest they came acknowledging that the six-colour rainbow has been established as a symbol of LGBT+ Pride since 1978.

The bizarre exchange left Gay Twitter in disbelief and drew a number of complaints to the broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Fleur East and James Barr brought Nadiya up to speed as they chatted on Hits Radio Breakfast, and she immediately expressed surprise at Hollywood’s choice of words.

“Is that what he called it?” she laughed. “Why did he call it an NHS bagel?”

Gay comedian and podcaster Barr explained that Hollywood was probably trying to channel “COVID-19 pandemic vibes”, but added “he must have known” about the rainbow’s other symbolism.

“I know, I mean reference it properly for goodness sake,” Nadiya chided. “But also I do like a rainbow bagel, I will say.”

She continued: “It’s OK, we’re inclusive! We are inclusive. And I think if you’re going for rainbows, when I make or buy rainbow bagels, I will cut them in half, smear cream cheese vanilla, and then sprinkle birthday rainbow sprinkles all on top.

“Like, if you’re gonna rainbow and gay, you’ve got to go all the way.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourself Nadiya!