Everything you need to know about The Great Pottery Throw Down

Naomi Gordon
·8-min read
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon  - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

From Prima

Spoilers ahead!

The Great Pottery Thrown Down has been providing viewers with an hour of restorative and tranquil TV with its array of impassioned potters competing to create their best pieces in front of a panel of experts.

Originally airing on BBC Two back in 2015 and 2017, the series is currently airing on Channel 4, which commissioned a fourth season with new presenter Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney taking over from Melanie Sykes, returning judge and master potter Keith Brymer Jones, and newcomer Rich Miller.

Similar in format to The Great British Sewing Bee, the show follows 12 passionate, home potters as they strive to create their most intricate and imaginative work, before their pieces are judged by the expert judging duo and a variety of well-known faces and experts from the world of pottery.

It was Garden Week on Sunday night's episode (19th February), and the remaining potters were tasked with making water features and strawberry planters.

Jodie was named Potter of the Week after impressing the judges with her incredible howling wolf and cratered moon water feature - which would really add a touch of class and sophistication to our outdoor space.

Sadly, Henry became the latest contestant to be eliminated from the competition. "Every single person here has taught me something about ceramics. And being also about being a good human," Henry said as he exited the show.

Next weekend is the quarter final, and it's an all-American-themed show with the remaining potters tasked with making Acoma pottery fired in cow dung and throwing an Alabama ring bottle.

Throughout the series, Keith, Rich and guest judges will demonstrate specialist techniques and offer advice, ultimately deciding which potter becomes Potter of the Week - and which potter must be sent home.

The new series launched on 10th January at 7.45pm on Channel 4. You can catch up with episode one, in which the potters are challenged to throw a cheese set and port chalices, on 4OD.

We're now three episodes in, which means the competition is down to six contestants following the elimination of aviation enthusiast and executive ground staff Irina, retired theatre wardrobe manager Ara, library assistant Susan, community nurse Lee, former model Shenyue, and care worker Henry.

Meet the The Great Pottery Thrown Down 2021 judges and host

Photo credit: mark bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: mark bourdillon - Channel 4

The judges feature returning master potter Keith Brymer Jones, and newbie Rich Miller.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

"Yay!! I'm so excited that the new series of @potterythrow has been announced! And super happy to be a judge this time around. I had such a fab time with @keithbrymerjones and @siobhni. Bring it on!!" Rich said in a post on Instagram.

Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney will be hosting proceedings.

Meet the The Great Pottery Thrown Down 2021 contestants

The original contestants taking part on the series are Henry, Adam, Peter, Ara, model Shenyue, community-spirited volunteer Hannah, aviation enthusiast Irina, NHS scrub nurse Jodie, community nurse Lee, Alon, library assistant Susan and former graphic design student Sally.

Susan: Library assistant - Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Susan reveals she was roped into painting and DIY as a child. She met her now-husband Ron in a pub in the Outer Hebrides when he ‘accidentally’ spilled her drink and offered to buy her another one!

Shenyue: Former model - Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Despite only discovering pottery in the past year and a half, model Shenyue ditched her former role in the corporate world to follow her passion for ceramics.

Sally: Former graphic designer

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Sally used to call potters “mudslingers” when she was a tidy graphic design student, but now she admits to being at her happiest when she’s in a “t-shirt, jeans and covered in mud.”

Peter: Visual arts teacher

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Getty Images

Channel 4 says: Just before his 50th birthday, Peter returned to university to study a degree in ceramics and has now been teaching visual arts for almost 20 years

Lee: Community nurse - Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Lee is a constant crafter and hobbyist. He picked up pottery from an acquaintance three years ago, and hasn’t stopped since.

Jodie: NHS scrub nurse

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Jodie matches the pressures of her work with training for triathlons and ironman contests in her spare time. She took up pottery two years ago when she was looking for a winter activity.

Irina: Aviation enthusiast - Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Irina lives and breathes aviation: her fiancé and son are both private pilots and she works as executive ground staff for a private jet company. She loves to throw “feminine, floral, breathtaking romantic vases”.

Henry: Activities organiser in an elderly residential home - Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Henry taught himself to throw on a disused kick wheel and outside of pottery, loves trampolining, trapezing, unicycling and juggling.

Hannah: Volunteer

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Community-spirited Hannah developed her ceramics skills by learning through ‘osmosis’ whilst volunteering at a pottery studio.

Ara: Retired theatre wardrobe manager -Eliminated

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4


Channel 4 says: Ara likes to accessorise his pots with studs, nuts and bolts, inspired by his costume days.

Alon: Architecture student

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4


Channel 4 says: Alon was raised in Israel. He's the family’s resident chef and creates meals based on his heritage.

Adam: Support worker

Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4
Photo credit: Mark Bourdillon - Channel 4

Channel 4 says: Adam turned to clay when he was recovering from a car accident. He loves hand-building and is particularly inspired by the sea.

Which Great Pottery Throw Down contestants have been eliminated?

The latest challenge featured the remaining potters throw, burnish and fire a pair of vases, and take on a floral challenge by guest judge and flower-making expert Rita Floyd. She made some truly beautiful daisies and enchanted the contestants with her impressive technique. Hannah was named Potter of the Week, and the judges also revealed that no one would be sent home. The nine remaining contestants will take on new challenges this weekend.

Library assistant Susan was the latest potter to be eliminated from the show last night (24th January). Aviation enthusiast and executive ground staff Irina, and retired theatre wardrobe manager Ara have also left the competition.

Where is The Great Pottery Throw Down filmed?

The Great Pottery Throw Down is filmed in a studio in Middleport Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, and the location is fondly known as The Potteries, and is recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics.

What can fans expect from the new series?

So far, judges Keith Brymer Jones and Rich Miller have set the 12 potters two challenges against the clock: to throw a cheese set and port chalices as the battle of clay kicks off at the wheel.

Episode two, which airs on January 17, will feature the 11 remaining potters slab-build a 3D building and, in a Throw Down first, judge Rich Miller tasks the potters with hand-making bricks.

Last Sunday, the contestants were tasked with creating life-like busts of music legends, with Alon's tribute to The Boss Bruce Springsteen seeing him crowned Potter of the Week.

Next week is Terracotta Week, and the potters will be tasked with arguably the biggest challenge yet - making a trio of family-sized pots.

What channel is it on again?

Channel 4, and after each episode is aired, it's available to stream on 4 On Demand. It previously aired for two seasons on BBC Two.

Can I watch other seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down online?

The Great Pottery Throw Down originally aired for two series on BBC Two between 2015 and 2017, but the episodes are no longer available to stream on iPlayer. The show moved to Channel 4 last year, so all 10 episodes of season 3 are available to watch now on Channel 4's streaming service 4OD. Episode 1 of season 4 is available to watch too, as it launched last Sunday (January 10).

When does The Great Pottery Throw Down air?

The show airs on Sundays on Channel 4 at 7.45pm, launching on January 1o and will continue to air on Sundays for 10 weeks, giving you pottery fun from January 10 until March 14 2021.

The Great Pottery Thrown Down continues on Sunday, February 7, at 7.45pm on Channel 4.

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