After a three-year break, The Great British Sewing Bee is back – and we’re bursting at the seams with excitement.


The Bake Off-style sewing show has stitched together a new line-up for 2019, with comedian Joe Lycett joining the show alongside judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant.

His appointment comes after previous host Claudia Winkleman stepped down after four series.

But who is the man behind the snazzy shirts and quick-fire puns? Here’s everything you need to know…

Who is Joe Lycett?

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017

Born in Birmingham in 1988, Lycett first became one to watch on the comedy scene when he was won the Chortle Student Comedian Award in 2009 after studying at the University of Manchester.

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Even if you haven't seen Lycett’s stand-up shows, you could well have spotted his perfectly punny titles: his debut tour in 2012 was the brilliantly named Some Lycett Hot (he followed it up with the equally magnificently named That’s The Way A-Ha A-Ha Joe Lycett).

His routine sees him recall anecdotes with 'difficult people', using his own sharp tongue to deliver a series of scathing and waspish insults – such as the now-viral story below about contesting a parking ticket.

Where have I seen Joe Lycett before?

As well as appearing on Live At The Apollo, Lycett is a regular guest on panel shows, having appeared on Celebrity Juice, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie To You?

He also appeared on series four of Dave’s Taskmaster in 2017, winning two tasks but ultimately losing out to Noel Fielding.

Lycett cut his presenting teeth in 2018 when he fronted his own prime-time BBC1 game show titled The Time It Takes.

The show saw a series of contestants attempt to answer questions during the time it takes to do a fairly mundane household chore. The challenger who answered the most questions right in their given time were one step closer to winning a dream holiday. The person with the lowest score went away with nothing but a Time It Takes tea towel.

He has since also hosted Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, presenting alongside Tim Lovejoy and filling in for Simon Rimmer.

But while Lycett is a dab hand at presenting, he admits he finds it more difficult than his usual stand-up routine.

"At the minute stand up is easier as I have been doing it for so much longer," he explained. "With presenting it’s a lot more to think about, and you don’t get the immediate response until it airs. They are two very different things really, but I enjoy both!"

Simply Sewing

What will Joe Lycett be like on The Great British Sewing Bee?

Previous presenter Winkleman may have been a Sewing Bee favourite, but what Lycett lacks in fringe and eyeliner he more than makes up for with his light-hearted and silly approach.

Clearly delighted to be named as the show’s host, Lycett was quick to set the tone by unleashing a series of sewing puns.

“My mum loves this show and she’s bursting at the seams she’s sew excited!" he wrote. "Weave talked about it and she says I’m tailor made and I’ll have the contestants in stitches.”

In fact, being host of the show has seen Lycett start his own sewing journey (in typical Lycett fashion, of course). Judge Grant call his efforts “a thing of wonder”.

While he seems to be right at home with the fellow judges, Lycett has also laughed off any suggested criticism, saying he “can’t wait to get slagged off on Mumsnet.”

"I was a bit confused because I didn’t really know anything about sewing, and I was a bit like ….are you sure?" he said. "I think they wanted someone a bit vague about sewing so it might be funnier, and I hope that is the case.

"It felt like home very quickly. Patrick and Esme were so welcoming, we met before filming and looked at the set to get a feel of things. They have both been so lovely and patient with me when I didn’t know what I was doing, both so supportive."

Why is Claudia Winkleman not still presenting Sewing Bee?

Claudia Winkleman, BBC Pictures, SL

Having previously fronted the first four series of The Great British Sewing Bee, Winkleman has since stepped down from the show, having been tied up with other commitments.

The 47-year-old now hosts Britain’s Best Home Cook beside former Bake Off host Mary Berry, in addition to fronting Strictly Come Dancing and hosting her own weekly BBC Radio 2 show.

Sewing Bee has been off the air since 2016. The series' future was in doubt after producers Love Productions moved their most high-profile series, The Great British Bake Off, to Channel 4.

However, The Great British Sewing Bee's future was assured when the BBC announced that a fifth series would be going into production in 2018.


The Great British Sewing Bee begins Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 9pm on BBC2

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