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Traditional Makers coming on the BBC Answered

Sorry to exclude most readers, but you still may be able to watch by using proxy servers to access BBC iPlayer.

Monty Don, a huge fan of traditional crafts, presents a series which celebrates six of the craft skills that built Britain and its heritage, ranging from thatching to stonemasonry.

Under Monty's watchful eye, three hopefuls who are passionate about learning these trades are put through their paces by the country's leading practitioners of wood craft, metalwork, thatching, stonemasonry, weaving and stained glass. After six weeks of apprenticeship and labour, their work and achievements are judged by experts in their chosen field to see who has best mastered the craft.

In the first episode, 46-year-old garden designer Charles Hooper, full-time student and single mum Sarah Charlton, 33, and 29-year-old supply teacher Tom Vaughan begin their intensive apprenticeship working with green wood, undeterred by the gruelling schedule.

There are a little over 600 dedicated green wood workers in the country today, including the episode's mentor Guy Mallinson. He left a successful cabinet making business in London for a new life in Dorset, devoted to the simplicity of green wood craft. He works without power tools, screws or glue or fixings - just freshly cut or unseasoned wood and ingenious tools, such as the pole lathe and the steam bender.

While Monty explores the importance of green wood in history, the trainees learn how to cleave the raw material, to turn blocks of wood on the pole lathe, and to manipulate the components fresh out of the steam bender. Then comes the final test - designing a chair and making it with no assistance.

Can they pull it off?

Link to the BBC Microsite.


Mr Cynical says: "It's another reality TV show then?" as evidenced by "Can they pull it off?"
Sounds like it has potential though.


Well, I'd argue that adding an element of challenge to it is just trying to make it a bit more exciting than Gardeners' Question Time.  The definition of "reality TV" seems to be getting stretched to almost everything non-fiction, involving real people having to do things. 

I thought the original point of "reality" was that its focus was purely the people interacting with eachother, be they in a strangely designed house full of cameras in Borehamwood, on a desert island, a New Jersey shorehouse etc.  I'd call this half documentary (about the actual crafts), half "challenge TV" in the best style of Faking It, Scrapheap, game shows etc.

I do not watch any of those reality maker-type shows because I can spot how the producers try to interject fake drama to make the show interesting.  Oh, the clock is running out and our robot assault vehicle is not ready for testing because so and so had a brain fart and forgot to calculate this and now the team leader is really mad and walked off the project... which in turn makes every show seem like Mythbusters, which I have stopped watching also. 

Pack up your chisels and go.
(OK, I do watch Top Chef and Project Runway, maybe they are better produced for a more intelligent audience)

The only one I even remotely cared for, and it wasn't team against team, just a single team, was Man against Cartoon, and that was entertaining only because they nearly killed themselves a number of times.....but it didn't last long.....I only saw 2 episodes and then no more. *shrug*
Oh, I have sprinkled one or two here and there,  now and then, on and off ;-)   Have been fooling about with other forms of word play too....
Indeed !  She used mostly Iron skillets actually, so she was more of a Skillet a Ma  than a Pan a Ma   ;-)

Of course, before I got DSL  I had to dial out on my pan a modiem  :-)  so if I had had children, then I would have been a pan a Pa (whatever that is).

Yeah, I stopped watching Mythbusters years ago. They seem to have turned into an endless train of explosions and fart jokes. Alright for the first 97 seasons I suppose but it gets old after awhile.

Scrapheap Challenge *do* cheat.

I was reading a forum, and one of the popular teams (I forget their name - they were military chaps with large moustaches) admitted that they were given several hours extra build time after the camera men went home for the night, just so they had a working vehicle to actually participate in the final challenge.

They even owned up to a disastrous accident (when a spark from a welder ignited the fresh glue holding together a sail for a wind-powered challenge, and reduced the sail to small pile of goo) was actually re-staged for the cameras - they put together a whole new sail and set it on fire, just because they missed it the first time.

I haven't seen it, so no judgment passed, but the BBC haven't done much original since when?


Weelll, it does contain useful, traditional crafts... I like it.

Other "reality" TV shows have potential, but what producers think worth showing may not be weighted towards traditional crafts. It's a break from the norm if they don't show crying, swearing, arguments etc...


Just a reminder that this is on tonight at 9pm on bbc 2. I sure hope it'll be on iplayer as I'll be on a pubcrawl when it's on!

Just watched it on iPlayer. Awesome program! I want to try it even more now :D


I was surprised to find that the greenwood professional put 60-70 hours into each chair he made!

 Wow, they'll come up with a reality show for everything, won't they?

Damn you! I want to watch it now! That looks really interesting; I like Monty Don. It's not broadcast until the 12th :(