Young Bentham carpenter to appear on new Channel 4 show

A young carpenter from Bentham is set to appear on a TV show billed as "the artisan's answer to The Great British Bake Off."

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 12:45 pm
Billy Walden on the new TV show. Photo courtesy of Plimsoll Productions

Billy Walden will be one of nine contestants on Channel 4’s new carpentry programme, 'Handmade: Britain's Best Woodworker', after shaking off competition from 500 applicants.

Hosted by Mel Giedroyc, the show goes out at 8pm every Thursday from October 21.

The six-part series will see the wood enthusiasts carving, whittling and building their way through a series of rounds, in a bid to impress esteemed carpentry judges Helen Welch and Alex Di Rijke, before one is crowned Britain’s Best Woodworker.

Billy pictured when he was working on his canal boat.

Each episode will centre around a ‘Big Build’ with the contestants given two days to create a bed in this week’s first episode, yet they will also be asked to complete a smaller ‘Skills Test’, which will secure the winner immunity from being sent home.

The programme was made by Plimsoll Productions and filmed in a custom-built workshop in Wales after the first lockdown in 2020, meaning a team of 60 had to quarantine in a 'bubble' during filming.

Billy, 21, said: "I filmed this last year at the stunning venue Glanusk Estate in Crickhowell. 500 people applied for the show and we had to do a series of interviews and and make carpentry pieces againt the clock for the casting process until the 500 initial applicants were whittled down to nine contestants.

"It was a fantastic experience competing against some extremely talented woodworkers, some of the builds were exceptional.

Billy pictured when he was working on his canal boat.

"It willl definitely be worth a watch, whether just for entertainment or if you want to learn about the art of woodworking. It's very educational, there are so many different characters that produce such a varied range of skills and put their unique stamp on every challenge.

"I would like to give a massive thank you to Plimsoll Productions for giving me this opportunity."

Billy first featured in the Lancaster Guardian at the age of 15 when he was the youngest person to complete a full camper van conversion on his own.

It impressed George Clarke so much that it featured on his programme Amazing Spaces, with George calling Billy "a talented but humble craftsman" and stating that Billy’s work "took his breath away".

At 16 Billy then went on to prove the quality of his carpentry skills by winning the SkillBuild award, the largest multi-trade competition in the UK.

A year later his fully rebuilt 1965 narrow boat was shown on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and Billy became the youngest project manager on the programme and the first to have two builds shown on the same episode.