You’ve probably heard that ancient proverb, “All That Glitters isn’t telly gold.” At least, it goes something like that… but in the case of this new BBC test of talent, we are absolutely dealing with a gem.
This series brings together eight of Britain’s aspiring jewellery makers to be set challenges to determine who can become the country’s next biggest jewellery star. Famed jewellery designer Shaun Lane is judging alongside Solange Azagury-Partridge, whose expertise is offset by the sass and comedy queen presenter Katherine Ryan. And whilst they might not be quite as cosy company as the Bake Off’s Matt Lucas and Co, or the Throw Down’s Keith Brymer Jones, we’re sure they know their way round the trinkets on display .
And to be honest, it’s the quirky contestants we’re really tuning in for. They grapple to keep their calm as they’re presented with sheets of metal and a few hours, tasked with making something unique and beautiful to impress the judges and secure their place in the final. And naturally, though we have absolutely no authority on how jewellery should or shouldn’t be made, we sit and chastise these creators like we’re the world’s leading jeweller, willing to work faster, neater, and add more shine.
Ok, we know we’ve seen this format before, covering pottery, make-up artists, sewing and even dog grooming, but the truth is, right now we can’t get enough of this type of comfort viewing. Whilst the world around us is full of anxiety inducing uncertainty, one thing we can rely on is these gentle competition shows, where each week we tune in we know for a fact we’re going to finish an episode feeling better. And if you ask us, that feeling is worth its weight in gold – hand hammered, gem-filled gold, in fact.
Carol Midgley of The Times enjoyed this shiny new show, saying that whilst it “will get no prizes for seat-edge excitement… it at least focuses on a proper skill and not, for once, cooking, which let’s face it anyone can do.” Cor, don’t tell Paul Hollywood, will you? Those blue eyes are scary when he does a death stare. The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan thinks these judges can be equally as unnerving, saying “they all need a bit of bedding in,” as they “lack the necessary warmth and detailed enthusiasm that makes these programmes really sing.” However, she admits, “the contestants, their creativity and their apparently endless array of skills carry the day.” But it terms of competitors, The Telegraph’s Ed Power wasn’t quite as sold, saying “they and their rivals were likeable enough yet didn’t bring much drama to the work-bench.”