Keith Lemon: Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft’s “Tim Burton-Lemony Snicket vibe” sets it apart from other competition shows

Keith Lemon and Anna Richardson chat about their new "Willy Wonka-esque" craft competition

Credit: Channel 4

Keith Lemon has described his new Channel 4 series Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft as “Willy Wonka-esque”, with a “very Tim Burton and Lemony Snicket vibe”.

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Speaking to RadioTimes.com, the Celebrity Juice host said the craft competition is “a very lovely, joyous craft programme” which is “very Willie Wonka-esque”.

He added that what sets the show apart from other hobby competitions, like The Great British Bake-Off and Sewing Bee, is the set.

“The set is better than any set on any of those other programmes,” he said. “It’s the fantasy element of it, it’s got a very Tim Burton-Lemony Snicket vibe to it as well that I love.”

Co-host Anna Richardson adds that Fantastical Factory isn’t just another hobby competition. “At the moment, we’ve got a glut of cookery competitions, so whether it’s MasterChef or Bake-Off or Great British Menu, this is not that.”

She said that each episode has a winner, as there are four new contestants each week and that the show’s celebrity guest element also sets it apart.

Keith Lemon and Anna Richardson.

“What’s nice about craft is we invite celebrities in and they stop being celebrities. I think there’s something about the set, it’s so quiet because people are making while you’re there, that they stop being mouthy from Spice Girls, and suddenly just become an ordinary person from Leeds who is actually genuinely interested in what’s being made,” she said. “I think there’s a realness to this show that is comforting.”

The new crafting series will see four new contestants create crafts of “epic proportions” each week in a bid to impress factory boss Lemon, who presents the show alongside Naked Attraction’s Richardson.  The contestants that make it through the first round will then be commissioned to make a creation by a celebrity guest, who will take the winner’s work of art home with them.

Eamonn Holmes, Spice Girl Mel B, Nick Grimshaw and Martin Kemp are just a few celebrity guests that appear throughout the series.

Speaking about the crafts made on the show, Lemon said that his favourite challenge involved asking the crafters to create a portrait of him. “I liked everybody’s piece of work there.”

He said that another favourite task of his was one set by comedian Katherine Ryan, who is episode two’s celebrity guest. She asked the contestants to create a ‘Catropolis’ for her cat. “They were really good, it was just good seeing everyone’s different skills.”

Richardson added that her favourite creation was a copper piping console table. “I was like, wow, that’s the kind of thing you would see in Central London at a posh furniture store. There’s different crafts for different people I’d say, it depends what you’re into.”

She added: “Kirstie Allsopp on acid basically is what Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft is.”

Richardson, who previously presented The Sex Education Show, said that the coronavirus lockdown is the perfect time for the show to premiere.

“The timing couldn’t be more perfect. People are at home crafting more than ever, they’re basically cooking, creating, they’re having sex or they’re exercising,” she said. “So we sort of combine all of that, we are being creative.”

Katherine Ryan.
Katherine Ryan enters the factory (Credit: Channel 4)

She continued: “It’s jolly, it’s bright, it’s fun, it’s aspirational and it’s family – so I’m really hoping it will resonate with people at the moment.”

Lemon added: “Especially in these time, anything to cheer people up I guess.”

When it comes to lockdown activities, the pair said that their experience with crafting has come in handy. “I’ve got a YouTube channel called Keith Lemon’s doings,” Lemon said. “I film myself making things and doing paintings.”

Richardson added that she’s more into knitting, crochet, cooking, gardening, block printing. “I’m a little bit more sort of House and Country.”

“Where I want to make Gremlin dolls to put on the shelf,” Lemon added.

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The Fantastical Factory of Curious Craft begins Sunday 10th May at 8pm on Channel 4. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.