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The Great Pottery Throw Down review – a precious hour of crafty tranquillity

Some people think there are enough craft shows on TV. That’s complete nonsense – especially when it comes to a series as soothing and restorative as this one

I have no time for those who would argue that we have enough craft shows. If you can make something – if you can combine butter, eggs and flour into a cake the shape of a mermaid’s grotto, or bombazine and thread into a halterneck prom dress, or paint, cardboard and glitter into an eye-catching Christmas ornament, I revere you as a god. To reckon that we have too much of this stuff on our screens, to complain that The Great British Sewing Bee is a rip-off of The Great British Bake Off, or that Kirstie Allsopp should stick to property programmes instead of sticking tape to bauble parts is to say that we need fewer acts of semi-divinity in our lives and, as such, is complete nonsense.

Never does this feeling swell more in my breast than a) after an attempted US coup by a mad toddler president, or b) when such opining is done in the face of The Great Pottery Throw Down (Channel 4). This absolutely is a GBBO rip-off – it is made by the same production company – and one that is even more soothing and restorative than the original. It began in 2015 on BBC Two, presented by Sara Cox, then was axed in 2018 after two series, in what some saw as a retaliatory move against its producers for moving Bake Off to Channel 4. It returned for a third series last year, with Melanie Sykes presenting. This time out, it has performed a masterstroke and installed Siobhán McSweeney (best known as the supremely disaffected nun Sister Michael in Derry Girls) as its Mel and Sue; she blends the wit and warmth of the pairing in one handy package.

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