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The Great British Sewing Bee – BBC2

The Great British Sewing Bee
(Image credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi)

The ‘Bake Off for sewing fans’ returns with a new presenter

The ‘Bake Off for sewing fans’ returns with a new presenter

Just like its sister show, The Great British Bake Off, this wonderful series of The Great British Sewing Bee, is a welcome ray of sunshine. It's full of lovely contestants, fun challenges and inspiring results.

New host Joe Lycett proves a brilliant choice to take over from Claudia Winkleman. Here he welcomes us to episode one: cotton week, presided over by picky judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young.

Tonight our 10 stitchers must make a precisely tailored ‘wiggle dress’ and a perfect jumpsuit, and also rely on their imagination and vision for the testing transformation challenge.

We say it every year, but we really must get up in the TV Times loft and dig out our old sewing machine…

TV Times rating: *****

Great British Sewing

Joe Lycett presents this year's Sewing Bee

Here, Joe, 30, reveals why he was confused, but delighted, to be asked to join The Great British Sewing Bee…

So Joe, are you a dab hand with a needle and thread?

I know zero about sewing! I'm learning, though. I now know what a hem is and what linen is made out of.

The joy of the show has been learning what everything is. I have a brand-new appreciation for all of the skills involved.

With that in mind, were you surprised to get the job?

Yes, I thought it was a mistake when they called – I didn’t think I was in the running, but I was over the moon.

I rang my mum and it turns out it’s her favourite TV show. She was like, ‘But you don’t know anything about sewing!’

My friends, Jess Phillips MP and Sarah Millican, love it, too. A lot of people have told me not to ruin it!

What can you tell us about this year’s contestants?

They’re a real mix of characters and ages.

We have a mother hen of the group, who knows all sorts about sewing – all the other contestants are constantly consulting her.

There’s a guy who turned a sofa into a beautiful jacket and a woman who wanted to make a dress for Rihanna.

I hate it when I have to send them home each week – they’re all so talented and work so hard.