Traditional crafts come to BBC Two

By Rosanna Holmes,
15th February 2010 - 09:00
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Monty Don follows six apprentices as they learn to thatch and weave

Picture a version of The Apprentice for traditional crafts and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Mastercrafts. The new series is presented by Monty Don on BBC Two on Friday nights.
 
Three crafty hopefuls will be trained in metal work, thatching, stone masonry, weaving and more by leading artisans. After six weeks of solid graft, their work will be judged by experts in each field.
 
In the first episode, the participants - a garden designer, a single mum and a supply teacher - begin their apprenticeship by working with green wood. The industry once employed 20,000 labourers and 'bodgers' but, today, there are just 600 dedicated greenworkers in the UK.
 
As the students quickly discover, cleaving the raw material and manipulating the components fresh out of the steam bender requires precision, dexterity and plenty of patience.
 
Can the novices use their training to design and make their own chair? Find out on Friday at 9pm. 

A book, Mastercrafts (David & Charles, £20), has been published to accompany the series. Written by Tom Quinn, it showcases the lives and work of the craftspeople featured in the programmes, and explains the techniques at the heart of their trades.