If you’re potty about pottery, crazy about ceramics and filled with enthusiasm for fine china, then Stoke-on-Trent is the place for you…and Channel Four’s going to be your TV station of choice at the start of 2020.
The return of The Great Pottery Throw Down to the nation’s television screens has been widely heralded by the media, and can now be seen each week on both More 4 (Wednesdays at 9pm) and Channel 4 (Sundays at 6:45pm).
A prime-time programme which puts Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries front and centre, The Great Pottery Throw Down is made by the same production company behind The Great British Bake Off- andhas returned to the screens for a new, 10-part series, following 12 potters as they strive to create their most intricate and imaginative work.
Previously shown on BBC, the switch to Channel 4 also sees new host Melanie Sykes take over from former presenter Sara Cox. Sykes joins the show alongside returning judge and master potter Keith Brymer Jones and new judge and award-winning ceramicist Sue Pryke.
Contestants are once again being seen battling 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 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’.
Today, 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 now visit the site each year.
For all tourist information about Stoke-on-Trent & The Potteries, visit http://www.visitstoke.co.uk