Pottery Throw Down: Two Days at The Guardian, The Clay Hangover, The Prod in the Eye

Posted by: on Nov 9, 2015 | No Comments

On the 4th November, The Guardian ran a rather positive review of the Pottery Throw Down Episode 1 where Pottery was described as ‘beautiful’ and ‘mesmerising’:

BBC: ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down debuts to mixed reviews’

Posted by: on Nov 4, 2015 | No Comments

Seems the BBC’s feeling a little self-critical of Episode 1:

Sam Wollaston of the Guardian described the show as “beautiful and mesmerising – I could watch pot throwing all day,” but The Times’ Andrew Billen called it “cracked, half-baked and hollow.

“The whole idea of turning pot-making into a competitive sport was potty,” he continued. The Daily Telegraph’s Gerard O’Donovan said the show was “tiresome in places” but “endearingly human,” while the Express weighed in, “as for whether they have another Bake Off-style success on their hands, I’m guessing no but that’s not to say this isn’t fun to watch.

 

‘Tough Love to Tears’. The Great Pottery Throw Down Review: Episode 1

Posted by: on Nov 3, 2015 | No Comments

‘It could have been worse’. This sprang to mind as the credits rolled, but in fairness it’s a phrase I overuse at every opportunity. All things considered, the maiden voyage went well with only a few inevitable wobbles.

Potters appear somewhat polarised by the prospect of the programme: some suspicious of its intentions to provide a televisual experience, others happy at the prospect of engaging new people with the craft. To this end, the programme covered a lot of ground: it was great to hear people who are embedded in the craft talking about aesthetics and technical aspects (I only occasionally winced) on a prime TV channel before 10pm. This has not happened for a very long time.

It took a while for the episode to get spinning (see what I did there) and I felt the early attempts to associate pottery with sex were a little forced and clichéd (there’s hardly a day goes by when a potter isn’t asked about Ghost: it happened to me only 7 hours ago), but it covered a fair amount of ground in a comfortable way with talking heads from people in the craft/trade as well as introducing a lot of terms which, for the non-potter, are quite technical: wedging; balling-up; throwing; slip trailing; turning; glazing; throwing off the hump; pulling handles etc. For a programme potentially carrying the curse of being a vehicle of entertainment, that’s pretty amazing.

Oh, and some stuff happened. There was a very broad range of skills demonstrated amongst the contestants who were most likely there for their ability to come across well on the camera as much as for their dexterity with clay. It would be wrong, at this point, to say that the winner of the series will be ‘Britain’s best home potter’ but Sally-Jo and this week’s winner and top potter, Tom, produced some pleasing results. Rekha had to leave and Matthew was a little lazy (not unlike the first 30 minutes).

Next week it looks like contestants are making a sink (to hold Keith’s tears), tiles, and maybe undertaking a blindfolded throwing challenge… anyone seen Ghost?

Matthew Tyas, November 3rd, 2015.