December 17, 2021
In the BBC TV series, treasured objects are restored to their former glory. It’s a vision of how life ought to be
The Repair Shop: the idyllic show that brings me to tears | Ian Jack
Nothing but good happens in The Repair Shop, a thoroughly commendable television show in which pleasant men and Women bring beloved but damaged objects to a team of equally pleasant craftspeople who will repair them and make them like new. At the start of every show we see an ancient thatched barn as Bill Paterson’s reassuring voice sets the scene. This is a place where “precious and faded treasures are restored to their former glory”; where “heritage craft skills passed down the generations” are exercised; a place where, not least, the conversation between owners and restorers “unlocks the story” inside every object.
Inside the barn, the craftspeople are already at work: sandpapering, sawing, sewing, stuffing, burnishing, painting, soldering, hammering, chiselling. The barn is real enough. It was built in around 1700 for a farm in Hampshire and relocated 40 years ago to the Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex, where the series is filmed. But as real barns go, the Repair Shop is unusually smart, its wooden frame robust, its reed-thatch immaculate, and its interior beautifully lit.
Ian Jack is a Guardian columnist
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