Nine of the country’s most talented crafts people are about to battle it out in Channel 4’s new competition, Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker.
Hosted by former Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc, and judged by Alex de Rijke and Helen Welch, the show will see each contestant take on a series of challenges in a bid to be crowned Britain’s Best Woodworker.
At the end of each episode, one contestant will be sent home and the remaining contenders will go on to chisel another day.
While similar in format to the popular baking show, Mel Giedroyc recently revealed how Britain’s Best Woodworker is different to Bake Off, saying: “The guys are phenomenal. They had no time between episodes, which is so unusual. On Bake Off, we’d film at the weekends, then the bakers would have the week to practice and relax.”
So, who are the contestants?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Job: Builder & novice carpenter
When he was just 15-years-old, Billy completed a campervan conversion. A year later, he won a carpentry award at 16 and rebuilt a narrow boat by himself at 17.
He has completed a two-year carpentry course as well as learning skills from YouTube, trial and error and Hayne’s manuals. He is currently working on a barn conversion and says he’s a quick worker and isn’t afraid to take risks.
Job: Artist & teacher
Mother-of-three Chantal has a degree in fine art and says she discovered her calling after completing a woman-only furniture- making course at the age of 38. After completing further training, Chantal now teaches DIY and art. Showing that woodwork is not solely a masculine pursuit is important to Chantal, who has three daughters and is also a registered foster carer.
Job: Furniture maker
After working as a computer-aided designer and dog walker, Charlie began an apprenticeship at the age of 30 to retrain to work in the world of woodwork full time. Charlie’s specialisms are furniture-making and carving.
Since filming, Charlie has set up her own woodworking studio and lives in the Calder valley.
Job: Furniture maker/set builder
Growing up in Paris and rural France, Jade became interested in DIY at an early age. She would help her dad around the house, and after working as a set and prop maker, she began studying furniture making while also working part time.
Jade likes her work to be organic and natural to the touch and she has an interest in upcycling and sustainable woodworking.
From a young age, Joe enjoyed making things. He is a big advocate of making woodworking more accessible regardless of training and created his own woodworking YouTube channel.
Joe makes custom furniture and craft items for family and friends and says that as long as his work looks good in the end, he doesn’t worry about errors and imperfections along the way.
Michelle worked in the financial sector for 33 years, working around the clock in a pressured and stressful environment. After taking early retirement in 2018, Michelle has dedicated more of her time to woodwork, for which she receives several small commissions a year.
Michelle is also a grandmother, a martial arts instructor and enjoys riding her motorcycle.
Misti worked for over 30 years as a high end, interior designer working in mansions and stately homes. A few years ago, she decided to leave it all behind and now works out of her woodland workshop, sculpting from stone and wood. Misti says her strength in the competition will be her eye for design and her knowledge of wood and what it can do.
Job: Junior cabinet maker
After graduating from his product design course, Radha worked briefly as a junior cabinet maker for a furniture company. His love of woodworking comes from spending time in his uncle’s workshop as a child and learning about tools and working on small projects.
Radha describes his style as traditional and fine and he enjoys using as many hand tools as possible. Since filming, Radha has set up a bespoke furniture making business.
Job: Bike mechanic
Five years ago, Tim left his job in the civil service to become a bike mechanic. When he’s not tinkering in his workshop, he volunteers at a local overgrown Victorian cemetery.
Tim’s motto is: ‘I make things out of stuff’. He can turn his hand to ceramics, glass blowing, carving, sculpting, welding and blacksmith work and he’s constantly experimenting with new materials.