Why The Repair Shop is the feelgood TV show we need right now

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 March 2020

The Repair Shop, presented by Jay Blades, is returning for its fifth Series. Picture: Ricochet Ltd/Steve Peskett/BBC

The Repair Shop, presented by Jay Blades, is returning for its fifth Series. Picture: Ricochet Ltd/Steve Peskett/BBC

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The ultimate in comfort viewing, The Repair Shop returns to BBC1 this evening in a new prime time slot. Here’s why you should tune in.

The Repair Shop's expert team can restore paintwork, furniture, ceramics and much more. Picture: Ricochet Ltd/Steve Peskett/BBCThe Repair Shop's expert team can restore paintwork, furniture, ceramics and much more. Picture: Ricochet Ltd/Steve Peskett/BBC

Nestled deep in the countryside is The Repair Shop, where a team of skilled and caring craftspeople rescue and resurrect items their owners thought were beyond saving.

Together they transform priceless pieces of family history and bring loved but broken treasures, and the memories they hold, back to life.

It’s a simple premise, which has captured the imagination of the viewing public.

And tonight the show, fronted by Jay Blades, returns to BBC1 in a new prime time 8pm slot with more heartwarming, and often tearjerking, stories.

The recent special episode, The Repair Shop At Christmas, had 5.5m viewers tuning in – the thought of the joy on the teddy bear owner’s face when the restored toy was revealed to her is enough to make you well up – prompting its move to peak time. The show’s celebrity fans include Stephen Fry, Greg James, Richard Osman and Leanne from Little Mix.

And, with coronavirus dominating the headlines and many people feeling anxious and uncertain, the timing could not have been more perfect for such a cosy, feelgood show to air.

As presenter Jay says: “We’re a family who comes together to help people. It’s about kindness, and that’s a very good thing.”

Items arriving at the workshop at the Weald and Downland Living Museum near Chichester in this fifth series include a pump organ that was once a mother’s pride and joy, a jukebox that holds beloved memories of a special wedding day, and an alabaster lightshade that’s one of the trickiest restorations yet. The team of experts for this series include horologist Steven Fletcher, sadler and leather expert Suzie Fletcher (Steven’s sister), the Teddy Bear Ladies Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell, metalworker Dominic Chinea, silversmith Brenton West, ceramics conservator Kirsten Ramsay, and fan favourite, furniture restorer Will Kirk.

Jay, who also presents upcycling show Money for Nothing, says that the jukebox restoration might be one of his favourite ever transformations.

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“I’m always touched when men show emotion, as it is very rare. In this new series there is an episode with a jukebox, which is incredibly moving and a beautiful story. I might go so far as to say it is one of my favourites to date,” he says.

Amazing restorations

Since The Repair Shop began it has transformed more than 430 items.

The oldest item The Repair Shop has repaired was an incredibly rare Lantern Clock from the 1600s, believed to have been made by renowned clockmaker Thomas Loome and the youngest was a toy Dalek from the late 70’s.

The Repair Shop has restored an accordion that made in through the blitz, a helmet from the trenches of the First World War, a watch that survived a prisoner of war camp and a violin that spared the life of its owner in Auschwitz.

The Repair Shop has also restored the voices to a veritable band of musical instruments: from violins, accordions, harmoniums, concertinas, bagpipes, saxophones, guitars and drums – and even a vibraphone.

Curiosities and artefacts that have ended up in the workshop include a wind up rabbit in a cabbage, an automaton tiger that growls, a musical birdcage and a ventriloquist’s dummy.

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