If you’re potty about pottery, crazy about ceramics and fired with enthusiasm for finechina, then Stoke-on-Trent is the place for you…and, while you’re unable to go there at least, this could be the very website you’ve been looking for: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-pottery-throw-down.
The return, earlier this year, of The Great Pottery Throw Downto the nation’s television screens was warmly received by TV critics, and audiences alike. And while Channel Four has recently confirmed that it is now looking for contestants for a fourth series of the show, the good news for anyone wanting to watch, learn and enjoy the process of ceramic making is that the whole of the third series can still be found online.
Made by the same production company behind The Great British Bake Offthe prime-time Great Pottery Throw Downput Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries front and centre, – and proved to be a 10-part series that provided inspiration by the bucket full for anyone wanting to explore a new hobby. Just as importantly, it also offered further evidence that The Potteries – the ‘world capital of ceramics – is the destination of choice for anyone with an interest in pots and pottery (once we’re all able to start travelling again).
Following 12 potters as they strived to create their most intricate and imaginative work the series was hosted by Melanie Sykes, joined by judges Keith Brymer Jones and Sue Pryke.
And it’s still available online for anyone who wants to watch the cut and thrust, and the trials and tribulations, of the contestants as they battled it out for the title of Britain’s best budding potter at Middleport Pottery – the home of Burleigh, which was reopened to the public in 2014 following a £9-million restoration project led by Re-Form Heritage.
One of the oldest, and most historic factories in the UKMiddleport was previously at risk of closure, meaning that the famous Burleigh brand – which has been produced using traditional methods on this site since 1889 – may have had to move away from its home in the so-called “Mother Town of The Potteries”, Burslem.
But Re-Form Heritage stepped-in to buy and save the site following a major fundraising campaign. And after three years of renovation and rejuvenation, the historic premises once again opened to the public and then became “home” to the popular TV show.
Far from being a ‘staged’ attraction, Middleport is a real, living, working, breathing building. A model factory when it was first opened, it is also believed to have taken a starring role in Arnold Bennett’s Anna of the Five Towns, published in 1922. The book contains a lengthy section in which wealthy pottery owner Henry Mynors takes Anna Tellwright on a tour of ‘Providence Works’.
When open, the award-winning visitor destination in the heart of Burslem, offers visitors the chance to learn more about its fascinating heritage through its factory tours, heritage trail and historic narrowboat experiences. The pottery’s authentic charm and character also provides the backdrop as a weddings and events venue; while the on-site café serves locally sourced produce for the 50,000 day visitors who usually visit thesite each year.
Further details can be found at https://re-form.org/middleportpottery/information.
Better news, still, is that The Great Pottery Thrown Down is heading back to Stoke-on-Trent – with hopeful contestants being invited to apply to take part. Judge, Brymer-Jones has said that they were all “over the moon” with the viewing figures for the last series, as the show gained strong momentum – and that they are now in the process of finding new contestants, although filming may be pushed back to the end of the year.
Love Productions has confirmed that the series is returning and that they are closely observing Government guidelines: “At some stage, after the Covid-19 situation has improved and it is safe to do so, we will be filming the next series. Please be reassured in applying for the series this does not involve asking potential potters or any of our team to travel. We are able to work safely from home and are continuing to process the applications now for series four.”
[This feature was prepared on behalf of VisitStoke: http://www.visitstoke.co.uk