In 2020, we saw lockdown turbocharge the popularity of crafts, with Hobbycraft reporting a 200% sales boom back in August, and this extended to the nation’s television habits too. The launch of the Great British Bake Off saw a record number of viewers, and the sheer proliferation of creative challenge shows spanning sewing, jewellery, interior design, pottery and more is a testament to the continuing popularity of artistic pastimes and professions.
Here are some of the biggest on screen right now, and the hobbies they are promoting to a mass audience.
The Great British Bake Off
Britain’s quintessential TV contest has been warming viewers with its comforting mix of baking, decoration, and good-spirited competition and camaraderie since 2010. Arguably the show that started them all, it is widely credited for reinvigorating interest in home baking in the UK and beyond and has won several BAFTAs and National Television Awards.
The Great British Sewing Bee
Originally running from 2013-2016, before returning in 2019 to considerably higher viewer figures, The Great British Sewing Bee follows the tried-and-tested, Bake Off format, but pivots it towards tailoring and sewing.
The inspiration for many new sewers, the series sees ten amateurs compete against each other across the Pattern Challenge (a design supplied by the judges), Alteration Challenge (where they must alter an existing garment), and the Made-to-Measure Challenge (where the contestants have freedom to create within a broader brief).
All That Glitters
One of the newest creative shows to hit TV, All That Glitters is focused on finding Britain’s best jeweller. Coming to screens soon, it will see eight contestants enter a Birmingham Jewellery Quarter workshop, don their protective masks, aprons and work trousers, and create all sorts of beautiful and intricate rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Expect plenty of thrills, given the expensive materials typically used in this craft.
Interior design matters
Series two of Interior Design Matters recently saw its second season air on BBC. Fronted by Alan Carr and judged by former Elle Decoration editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin, the programme sees ten interior designers compete against one another across a variety of residential and commercial tasks. Central to Interior Design Matters are the clients, who contestants are expected to – but don’t necessarily – consider and consult prior to creating their interiors.
The Great Pottery Throw Down
Channel 4’s most recent creative competition, The Great Pottery Throwdown saw its fourth season conclude in March. Filmed at the rustic Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, the series takes the Great British Bake Off format and reimagines it for the ceramics craft, tasking contestants with making all manner of clay creations and decorating them in interesting and inventive ways.
Lauded for its gentler, more emotional tone compared to other craft shows, the Great Pottery Throwdown has been a great hit; indeed, it was brought back in 2020 after a three-year cancellation on the back of a viral public petition!