As the third series The Great British Sewing Bee gathers pace, two people will be dismissed at the end of the challenges instead of the usual one, and that's not all. As presenter Claudia Winkleman informed us, there were more men than women trying to make it to the semi-final, "for the first time in Sewing Bee history". All three years of it.
What better way to mark such a momentous occasion than "Structure Week" and a corset challenge. "Making a corset is not difficult, you just have to be really, really precise," said judge May Martin, not at all reassuringly. The only contestant who didn't appear fazed by "the only garment in history that could kill" was 21-year-old student Ryan. "Ryan is clearly a bit of a corset expert," observed fellow contestant Neil darkly. "He's got a devious past, that's all I can say." Although, since Neil later gave us a glimpse of his own devious past – "I've made a wedding dress that was based on a corset. It was for my driver many years ago when I was travelling around the mountains of Bosnia" – he's hardly one to talk.
This first round was also enough to finish off poor Amanda. While everyone else was making corsets she was making a rod for her own back with that bias binding. Two more mistimed challenges followed and her eventual elimination surprised no one, least of all deputy head teacher Amanda. She took it all with the resignation that fellow professionals will recognise as a symptom of PTOD (Post-traumatic Ofsted Disorder).
Contrast with young Ryan, who began weeping halfway through the alteration round, even though his racy all-in-one was easily the most fashionable, if not quite finished. Did he deserve to join Amanda out on the Sewing Bee wharf? Not really, but at least it was a surprise in an otherwise predictable programme.
"This is getting boring now,' said Matt, as Neil's cerise cocktail dress won the alteration round. By the time his kilt was also named "Garment of the Week", I had to agree. Never mind 1980s power suits, it's these Bake-Off spin-offs that need restructuring. An underskirt of crafting skill, an overlay of expert opinion, all stitched together with some presenter-led innuendo; it's getting a bit boring now, isn't it?