It may have escaped your notice, but the BBC recently lost the jewel in its primetime crown – The Great British Bake-Off. The Beeb has been running auditions for “the next Bake-Off” for some time now – many with some arrangement of the words ‘Great’, ‘British’, ‘Challenge’ and ‘Off’ in the title.
The most likely successor to the Bake-Off crown seems to be The Great Pottery Throwdown (Thursdays, BBC2, 8pm), which finished its run this week.
Colonel Sanders lookalike Richard battled eccentric, ambitious Clover and male model Ryan – whose face became more peculiar the more you looked at it – to win the coveted title of the nation’s top amateur potter.
Like Bake-Off, it has two expert judges. In this case, it’s Keith – a man whose hairstyle defies explanation – and Kath. Also like Bake-Off, there are double entendres a-plenty – Richard was told he was “quite well-hung”. Although they were referring to his ceramic chandelier.
Meanwhile, host Sara Cox flits between the contestants, offering matey advice, sporadically bellowing the time at beleaguered potters.
It simultaneously celebrates and mourns British industry, as it is filmed in a redundant Stoke pottery, while also celebrating British eccentricity, and the quiet pleasure in doing something difficult for yourself.
It’s hard not be seduced by it, even if seeing Keith reduced to tears by a wonky lampshade seems difficult to comprehend.
The only downside to Throwdown’s move to BBC1 and world domination seems to be the lack of opportunity for tie-in books.
Mark my words, however, next year, we will fling aside our baking trays for potter’s wheels and a cobalt blue glaze.
Rich Hall’s polemic on country music, Countrier Than You (BBC4 and iPlayer) is worth a watch. Even if you’re not a country fan, his knowledge, passion and rage are an absolute pleasure.
It’s darkest before the dawn, they say, and for Carrie and Peter in Homeland (Channel 4, Sundays, 9pm) it must be dead of night, as the series – which has really returned to form – hurtles to a climax.