Kirstie Allsopp on her new show and her desire to be on Strictly...
Kirstie Allsopp’s passion for crafts has turned her into one of TV’s busiest people. Over the past few months not only has she been filming back to back with her property shows Location, Location, Location and Love It Or List It, but her latest crafting venture sees thirty celebrities, including Debbie McGee, Natasha Kaplinsky, ex EastEnder Ricky Groves and former Hollyoaks sweethearts, Jeremy Edwards and Terry Dwyer, unleash their creativity.
The new 15-part series, being shown every week day for the next two weeks and narrated by Corrie and Broadchurch star Julie Hesmondhalgh, sees the game celebs learn a whole host of crafts before going head to head each day in a special timed challenge.
"It’s been intense" she says, "But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone knows I’m evangelical about crafts and getting celebs to have a go is the perfect way to encourage other people."
Kirstie Allsopp, 47, speaks exclusively to TV Times about Kirstie's Celebrity Craft Masters and her Strictly Come Dancing dream
TV Times: What do the celebrities get up to?
Kirstie Allsopp: "In each episode two celebs are paired with a professional crafter who teaches them new skills and crafts. They then have to make three different things that are judged by our judges Polly Macpherson and Piyush Suri and in the final round they go head to head in a 30-minute timed challenge. It sometimes got quite pressured and let me tell you, without naming names, some of them were VERY competitive!"
TVT: What kind of things do they make?
KA: "Everything from leather bags, to plant holders, cushions, picture frames, floral centrepieces. There are fifteen episodes so over the course of three weeks you see different people have a go at all sorts of things from paper cutting to calligraphy, ceramics, working with concrete, wax, metal, crocheting. You name it, they do it!"
TVT: Who surprised you with their creativity?
KA: "It was more a case of being delighted than surprised. I didn’t really know what to expect from the celeb circuit but everyone who came on was really undemanding, worked hard, took it seriously and did an amazing job.
"We had a lot of fun. What worked brilliantly is that we paired people together who knew eachother or had a link so for example we had two ex soap stars together, Corrie’s Wendi Peters and EastEnders’ Ricky Groves, two comedians, Rufus Hound and Jenny Éclair, two sportswomen together, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sharron Davies."
TVT: Did anyone make anything you wanted to keep yourself?
KA: "Natasha Kaplinsky made a pair of mummy and baby stuffed Alpaca toys and they were honestly the most adorable little things I’ve ever seen in my life. She created them using wool from her own alpacas and they were so cute we were genuinely worried someone might steal them.
"Susan Calman made a brilliant cat bed and Debbie McGee made some beautiful cards and cushions with a boat theme because she lives by the Thames and has her own boat."
TVT: Which celebrities were you excited about meeting?
KA: "It was a huge thrill to meet Cheryl Baker, I mean come on, she was in Bucks Fizz AND won the Eurovision Song Contest! She was paired with Anneka Rice and the two of them were hysterical together.
"And being a huge Strictly fan it was brilliant to have on so many celebs who’ve been on it to get all the Strictly gossip. As well as Debbie, Natasha and Susan we had Dr Ranj Singh and Ricky Groves from EastEnders –they’ve all been on that dance floor!"
TVT: Would you ever fancy having a crack at Strictly yourself?
KA: "Oh completely! I would absolutely love to do Strictly but it takes up a good chunk of the year and right now it would be too much of a commitment time-wise. Weekends with my family are absolutely sacred so at this time in my life it would be completely the wrong thing for me to do!"
TVT: Have you ever given your ‘TV husband’ Phil anything you’ve made as a present?
KA: "Not exactly but I’ve commissioned things for him when I’ve found an artist or craftsperson who I’ve been working with and whose work I think he’ll love. I once gave him a stone spaniel for his garden because he’s got two Cocker Spaniels who he absolutely adores."
TVT: Have you tempted Phil onto this new show?
KA: "No, but if we get a second series Phil has to do it. You heard it here first, Phil MUST do this show. He has definitely got a creative and artistic streak. He’s a polymath, he’s annoyingly good at everything. He did my Christmas show once (Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas) but I have to say he was so good I didn’t let him back on!"
Kirstie's Celebrity Craft Masters starts on Monday July 1 at 5pm on C4 and runs every weekday for two weeks
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Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.