The Repair Shop’s restoration experts have a new mission — they undertake some extraordinary royal-related repairs in a special visit to the barn to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.
Jay Blades is joined by Dominic Chinea, Tim Gunn, Steve Fletcher, Matt Nickels, Kirsten Ramsay, and Teddy Bear Ladies, Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell, for some right royal repairs in this special visit to the barn.
Among the treasures in need of TLC are an historic lantern — still used daily in the Tower of London! — a Pearly Whites suit, a hand-painted plate from Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, plus a tandem bike made in 1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.
Here, talented Dominic Chinea takes us inside The Repair Shop’s Jubilee special…
The Repair Shop’s Jubilee Special features an array of interesting items. What can you reveal?
Dominic Chinea: "There’s a lantern from the Tower of London that they still light everyday, so the handle’s completely worn! The Bears [Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell] work on a Pearly King suit, belonging to quite a known EastEnd character. It takes them forever to decorate, design and stitch on all these buttons! And I work with Tim [Gunn] on a tandem bike…"
Sounds curious! Tell us more…
DC: "Curious is the word! John, the owner, built it with his friend years ago. He literally welded two bikes together so he could ride it around France for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee [in 1977] with his now late wife. It’s a lovely story. The history and memories he’s got on that bike are something else. It’s a perfectly special item from another landmark jubilee."
Was it difficult to restore?
DC: "Tim had his work cut out for him! It was tricky because it was very rusty, hadn’t been used in years, and had been painted quite crudely with red, while and blue tractor paint - probably with a beer in hand! We had to strip it, sandblast it, and make it secure to ride."
What was your role in the restoration?
DC: "My job was to repaint the frame. I sourced the exact same colours of tractor paint and got a brush that was far too big. Then I got in the spirit of painting it really badly — like I was on the farm with John and his friend! But that’s the charm of the bike. Restoring old things is all about trying to keep their charm and essence, and thinking about why they mean so much."
Did you ride it?
DC: [Whispers] "Yes we did! And I think it made it into the show!
"I've never ridden a tandem before. It's weird! Tim was at the front and I was on the back. I wasn't trusted with steering! It was quite a goosebumps moment. You think, imagine riding this around France?
"You build up a relationship with items you work on, so to get to ride it was a really nice moment."
What does this special outing to the barn mean to you?
DC: "It's a privilege and an honour to be part of. The lantern was a huge piece of history to be around. Knowing it’s going back to the Tower to be used is lovely. Then to work on something so special as John’s Silver Jubilee tandem bike, well it couldn't be better. That’s why this is such a magical place."
The Repair Shop Jubilee Special - A Guide to Who’s Repairing What
Horologist, Steve Fletcher, and stained-glass expert, Matt Nickels, light up when they’re faced with an especially historic item brought in by Peter, chief of the Tower of London Yeoman Warders. In full Beefeater gear, he presents Stev and Matt with a lantern from the Tower of London, which is still used daily when locking up the Crown Jewels. But, being over a century old, it’s beginning to show its age…
The Teddy Bear duo, Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell, welcome Diane and her son Terry to the barn. They come from a long line of London Pearly Kings and Queens and have brought with them an unfinished Pearly suit that belonged to Terry’s late father, Alf - the Pearly King of St Pancras.
Can the Bears make this special heirloom fit for a king, so Terry can continue the family tradition?
Ceramics conservator, Kirsten Ramsay, has a lot on her plate when she’s tasked with restoring a hand-painted item originally made for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. The piece in question is a dish belonging to Helen. One of a pair, unfortunately it fell victim to a decorating mishap and desperately needs Kirsten’s magic touch.
Bike expert, Tim Gunn, and metal maestro, Dominic Chinea, team up to work on a bicycle made for two. Created by John in 1977 — the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year — so he and his late wife, Deborah, could take a tour of France, the bike has since fallen into disrepair. Tim takes the bike apart and tackles the rust, before handing it over to Dominic. Can the duo help John get back on his bike, so he can raise money for charity in his wife’s memory?
The Repair Shop Jubilee Special airs on Wednesday, June 1 2022 on BBC One at 8pm.
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.