The Great British Sewing Bee, TV review

This year's contestants are cut from a different cloth

Ellen E. Jones
Wednesday 19 February 2014 01:00
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Julie, Lynda, Heather, Cerina, Simon, Chinelo, David, Tamara, Jenni are competing in the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee
Julie, Lynda, Heather, Cerina, Simon, Chinelo, David, Tamara, Jenni are competing in the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC2) is back for a second series, so there's really no fighting it any more.

The Great British have conquered all crafts and all hobbies and now no such programme will ever be complete without the mandatory inclusion of "Great" and "British" in the title.

This isn't entirely to be regretted. Like its obvious inspiration, The Great British Bake-Off, The Great British Sewing Bee successfully mixes good-natured competition with practical tips and sections on history.

This week's challenges required the contestants to demonstrate skill with cotton, wool and silk, giving presenter Claudia Winkleman time to take a walking tour of Spitalfields and enlighten us about the Huguenot influence on London's 18th-century rag trade.

As for the show's other stated aim, encouraging viewers to take up needle and thread, the variety of contestants in this series is promising.

There were a few who followed the pattern of last year's winner, 81-year-old former domestic science teacher Ann Rowley, but most were cut from a different cloth entirely.

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