From The Nice British Bake-Off and the Nice Pottery Throw Down, to The Nice British Stitching Bee and the upcoming Huge Flower Struggle, our screens appear to be continually inundated with varied totally different hobby competitions.
Simply once you suppose TV producers have run out of artistic pastimes to suit into a twee, tent-based contest format, alongside comes one other programme which follows the very same system. Ten novice [enter hobby here] spend eight weeks in some type of marquee, competing to change into Britain’s subsequent finest chef/baker/designer/potter while distracted by two presenters from a comedy background. Two business professionals choose their creations aside over the course of three challenges, with the quantity of contestants being whittled down week after week.
At first look, Channel 4’s Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft appears to suit this stereotype. Nonetheless, upon nearer inspection, the arts and crafts competition breaks out from its predecessors as a quirky, reinvention of the style.
Fronted by Celeb Juice’s Keith Lemon and Bare Attraction’s Anna Richardson, Fantastical Factory challenges 4 new crafters every week to create hand-made crafts of “epic proportions”. With every episode cut up into two rounds, the three crafters that impress manufacturing unit boss Lemon the most are then commissioned to create one thing for a celeb visitor, who takes house the successful contestant’s creation.
On paper, potty-mouthed Lemon appears an odd match for a household pre-watershed arts and crafts competition, however the comic merely shines as the energetic and foolish face of Fantastical Factory. Watching Lemon consolation a tearful crafter overwhelmed by the reward she receives, reveals a totally different aspect to the late-night host, who nonetheless brings his trademark playfulness and cheek, however leaves the ordinary crassness that accompanies it on ITV2.
Co-presenter Anna Richardson counterbalances Lemon’s manic Willy Wonka-esque power, with the calm confidence we often see when she’s surrounded by bare our bodies in vibrant show circumstances. Joined by handmade jewelry royalty Harriet Vine MBE and crochet king Zak Khchai, who present professional critiques, the 4 personalities create an on-screen chemistry regardless of their distinction in character.
A standout solid member of the present nevertheless is Keith Lemon’s mum Pat, who acts as the manufacturing unit tea girl. Apron-donning Pat, who spends the collection pottering about her tea room, teasing her son and delivering scorching drinks to the contestants, is a pleasant addition to the competition and provides to the family-feel of the manufacturing unit.
The colorful and wacky manufacturing unit set itself warrants highlighting, with its outsized workplace provides, streams of origami animals hanging from the ceiling and big lava lamp tubes. What can solely be described as a cross between the Artwork Assault and Blue Peter units however on steroids, the manufacturing unit, full with a man in spandex with a timer for a head, does stay as much as its fantastical identify.
As with all present of this kind, it is the contestants that make it. Though 4 fully new crafters enter the manufacturing unit every week, you get to know a condensed model of their again tales as they busily paint cardboard packing containers or chip away at a wood log.
A draw back of the programme nevertheless is the broadness of what is thought of to be a craft and the diversified experience of the contestants. For instance, in the first episode you see a carpenter, a puppet-maker, an artist who works primarily with clay and a crafter who makes use of recycled plastic to create. It’s tough to check and decide which creation is the finest when each is wildly totally different, the place not less than with baking, you’ll be able to simply pit eight varieties of sponge towards one another and level to a winner.
That being mentioned, with no prize to be received, there’s much less emphasis on successful and extra on the love for arts and crafts. Relating to crowning the episode’s crafting champion, the responsibility falls on the subjective shoulders of the celeb visitor anyway, who decides which contestant delivered on their specs the finest. This does appear to be the finest strategy to strategy a competition of this sort, particularly since the celebrities, which embrace Eamonn Holmes, Katherine Ryan and Martin Kemp, shall be taking house the successful creation.
Both method, Fantastical Factory makes for a comforting Sunday-night watch – offering a fun, quirky tackle the competition format however staying true to the hearty family-feel of reveals prefer it.
The Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft begins Sunday 10th Could at 8pm on Channel 4. For those who’re in search of extra to observe take a look at our TV Information.