Middleport Pottery, the home of ceramics brand Burleigh, has been named as the mystery ‘working pottery in Stoke-on-Trent’ where BBC series ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ is filmed.
The show is now part-way through its second series, with episode four airing tomorrow (Thursday February 23) at 8pm on BBC2.
Created by Love Productions (the team behind ‘The Great British Bake Off’), the programme gives an insight into the artistry, complexities and unpredictability of working with clay.
Over the course of eight episodes and 24 tests, 10 home potters are tasked with making everything from a set of jugs to a toilet.
Their efforts are judged by master potter Keith Brymer Jones – who is head of design at housewares company MAKE International – and ceramic artist Kate Malone, while TV presenter Sara Cox hosts the proceedings.
The theme of tomorrow’s episode is garden week, and the seven remaining potters will be challenged to make ceramics for the great outdoors.
In the ‘throw down’, the potters have just 15 minutes at the wheel to make a large, medium and small flower pot – each with a folded rim.
For the ‘spot test’, the potters must hand-build a dozen roses in one hour. To ratchet up the pressure, they will be watched by surprise guest judge Paul Cummins MBE. He is the ceramic artist behind the 2014 Seas of Red ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London, which marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
And in the ‘main make’, the potters have to tackle their biggest challenge so far: throwing and decorating a fully functioning water feature complete with pump.
Middleport Pottery said the show has had a ‘positive effect on the pottery industry, as consumers rekindle their interest in products which are ‘made in England’.’
The Pottery has seen ‘a significant beneficial effect’ on visitor numbers taking tours, and attending events, functions and activities on site, since the preamble and airing of the second series.
Burleigh is the only pottery in the world to decorate its ware using tissue transfer printing from hand-engraved copper plates, and 25 pairs of skilled hands go into the making of each and every piece of its distinctive pottery.
These are the same skills used in the making of Burleigh since 1851 and will not be seen elsewhere.
Visitors to Middleport can take a full pottery tour to see all the handcraft skills that are used in the making of Burleigh Pottery at 11am and 2pm every Monday to Thursday and at 10.30am every Friday.
The Burleigh shop boasts the widest selection of Burleigh pottery in the world and is open every Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and every Sunday from 10am to 4pm
For visitors there are opportunities for children to ‘Play with Clay’ but for those wanting a more in-depth experience of working with clay, there are classes for all abilities with master potter Jon French.