The BBC has attempted to replicate Their “Great British Bake Off” With a show about Pottery making.
Making is the new baking,” promised the trails for The Great Pottery Throw Down (BBC Two). Up until that point, things could have gone either way for a show whose only purpose appeared to be (like The Great British Sewing Bee and The Big Allotment Challenge before it) to replicate as unimaginatively as possible the format of The Great British Bake-Off. The idea was, of course, to find “Britain’s best home potter” from among 10 contestants, with Brymer Jones and art potter Kate Malone doing the judging. After just 15 minutes my eyes were glazing over at the slavishness of the challenge-based format and the ever more tiresome efforts to convince us that the act of hand-forming wet clay was, somehow, akin to sex. This is a notion that has been beyond parody since Ghost was released back in 1990. Presenter Sara Cox attempted dutifully to jolly things along, but most of the time she seemed surplus to requirements.
Still, the art of throwing, decorating and firing pots was unfamiliar enough to hold the attention. That the “main make” (the equivalent of Bake Off’s showstopper) took four days to complete could have been a handicap but good editing – and lots of infill snippets on the basics of ceramic craft for clueless viewers – turned the process of drying and firing into a natural seeming narrative arc. Having invested time watching competitors struggle more than expected with the basic task of making a set of five bowls, there was a natural desire to stay the course and see the outcome – for good or bad.
See an episode here