Trepidation for The Great British Sewing Bee 2016
The Great British Sewing Bee 2016 is coming back to our screens, and I for one am super excited!
It feels like an age since it was on…..in fact it has been an age, it’s been 14 whole months since our first episode of GBSB 3 was broadcast, and whilst we were all expecting the next series to be on our tellyboxes sometime soon, it has I hear been delayed a little longer so wont be shown on May 5th as some of us thought it may be.
Just knowing that it’s coming back though has made me think back to my time on the show, the unknowing feeling of the challenges, the support from all the other bees, the impending deadlines as we stitched for survival (on the show), the tension of the judging!
Although it’s been quite a while since it was last on, we actually filmed in May 2014, so my memories are beginning to get a little hazy. But I do remember the nervous feeling of the unknown in anticipation of being announced as a contestant on the show. I’m sure this years contestants will be able to relate to this right now!
I thought mainly for prosperity I may regale a few of the highs and lows of being in the room.
1. Friendly Faces I had met loads of lovely people during the auditions, however at no point did it dawn on me that I’d be on the show myself, so when all the contestants were meeting for the first time it suddenly struck me that I wonder who else had been selected that I may have met before. To my massive relief Neil was one of them, and when I saw him come bounding into the hotel bar where we were staying a massive sense of relief came over me. We’d both sat sheepishly in a coffee shop just around the corner from the practical audition not feeling brave enough to ask if the other was there to take part in a sew-off! After a few knowing nods we got chatting and had much in common, more than just the sewing. Another friendly face for me was Amanda, we’d hit it off during the first round and sat nattering like old chums, to have her nearby again made me feel so at ease.
2. Encouragement Thinking back to the challenges themselves, I remember how sometimes when things weren’t going quite right for you or you were struggling with the concept of sewing a boys waistcoat every now and then you would look up to see May Martin willing you on, visually encouraging you to have the belief that you could do it. Although she was bound and unable to help, the odd leading and then unanswered question or raised eyebrow was enough to make you stop and think “Is this the only way to do it or am I missing something?” or “What would May do?”The show just wont be the same without you!
3. That lovely coffee shop It’s a real one, with real customers too, and lord knows how they put up with us descending on them every few hours complete with camera crew. One of the hardest things was when you had been on a challenge for a morning, head down, stitching like crazy, was to go and relax in the coffee shop but not eat a morsel of that tasty food sat there temptingly in front of you, until that cameras had gone. It’s a difficult but true fact that watching someone eat on TV isn’t very nice, and we were politely requested to abstain for just a few more minutes (TV mins are multiplied by at least 5 by the way, meaning the wait would invariably be longer).
4. The judging I feel for the contestants, I really do. There is nothing tougher than when you have put it all out there and given every ounce of energy you can muster to the garment in front of you, to then have to wait for judging to occur. You all go and grab a cuppa and a biscuit and get a chance to chat amongst yourselves about what went well, what caused you trouble and what you just want to forget! Then a few minutes later (See point 3 above regarding TV minutes) it’s in you go, lining up, waiting for your name to be called, shuffling awkwardly forward with an unruly wheeled mannequin in tow, accepting with a thin lipped smile the critique, reversing the blimmin mannequin back, and wait for the ranking. Sometimes it’s a knowing acceptance that you “could’ve done better”, sometimes it’s untold jubilation that you, yes you absolutely nailed it. What ever the outcome it’s not an easy part. That is why I feel for them.
So here I sit waiting impatiently for the new series, wondering if I may feel ever some protective over my workstation, or reminiscing further about our raids undertaken on the haberdashery. What I do know is that for all the pressure and daunting feelings that we had, I’d give anything to be back there again.
Class of GBSB 2016, I look forward to meeting you all, albeit from the comfort of an armchair, knowing that one of you will take on the pride of being known as the winner of the Great British Sewing Bee. Ready, your time starts….Now*.
* when I say now, I actually mean whenever the BBC confirm the date to scheduling the transmission!!