Jayne Dawson: First they took Bake Off... now it's the Sewing Bee

For the love of God, what's going on?

Tuesday, 21st February 2017, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:46 am

Just as we start the healing process, dare to imagine that survival is possible, and make those tentative baby steps towards a future so many of us never wanted.

Just as all that good, brave, necessary work is beginning, there comes this fresh hell.

We are a resilient people, but sometimes...sometimes we are sorely tested.

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First they came for Bake Off, and we let them. Now, quietly, stealthily, while we weren’t looking, they have come for Sewing Bee.

Cease your lamentations. It is too late. It has gone.

Which is a terrific shame, actually, because I liked The Great British Sewing Bee, a jewel of BBC 2 for four great seasons.

After that great length of time, a person like me, accustomed to the television of the old days, assumed it to be safe.

Four popular seasons makes something a stalwart of a channel, or it used to. Every week, three million of us watched its contestants fall apart over darts, buttonholes and inset sleeves. Sometimes the garments fell apart too.

It was all good, clean cosy fun. And now it has gone. Some 20,000 of us have signed a petition of protest – but no joy.

The show was made by Love Productions, the same people who make Bake Off, and the BBC has failed to recommission it.

Naturally, I don’t know why, the ins and outs of BBC programming are not for the likes of me. But it seems a bit suspect, doesn’t it?

You can imagine a scenario where a television channel, having had a prize show priced out of its reach by an independent company, decided to spit the dummy and refuse other shows made by that company. Just saying.

Anyway, the end result is great swathes of us are left bereft. Robbed of the fun of watching people pinning paper shapes onto fabric in an incomprehensible fashion, rushing to a sewing machine, dashing off a seam, twitching and shaking everything right way out and – ta dah! A garment!

And then there was Claudia, bonkers and loveable in everything. And that rather attractive man in the suit.

The mix was magic. It was safe, it was gentle, above all it was cosy. And, unlike Bake Off, it didn’t make you want to eat your way through it.

Just so you know, I don’t sew. I used to. A bit. I was always willing to put in an extra dart, take up a hem, add a few decorative bits and pieces. But now I can’t see to thread a needle, and that annoys me, so I frequent the alterations shops instead.

But then I don’t do much fancy baking either. And I don’t throw my own pots in the style of the Great Pottery Throwdown.

But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to do a thing myself to enjoy watching the expertise of others. And there are lots of viewers like me. Taking this stuff away from us is like taking a soothing blanket from a baby. Cruel.

So now I’m angry again. I’m proper cross. It’s time to stand up for those of us who want cosy.

Just because we spend our evening in our pyjamas and slippers on the sofa, drinking tea and watching nice things on television, we are too often discounted. But we are a force.

Once roused, we can be dangerous, we can throw off our slippers and take action.

Cosy can be sharp as a knife when need be. Think Women’s Institute. They’re cosy - but they also calmly stripped off all their clothes and electrified a nation when the need for a little publicity arose. And when prime minister Tony Blair annoyed them, they gave him a slow handclap reception that haunts him still.

So we can strike like vipers. But we don’t want to do that. We want to stay at home in our lounging about clothes and watch the seamlessly wonderful Sewing Bee. Are you listening, BBC?


News comes that actor Danny Dyer is taking a break from EastEnders.

Despite being the mainstay of Albert Square, the jewel in the Queen Vic’s crown, Danny has been given six weeks off. And at short notice too.

The scriptwriters, it is said, are chewing the table in frustration at having to replot all their various storylines.

Meanwhile, Danny has been seen boarding a plane for South Africa, leaving behind swirling rumours about drink, and about behaving like a bit of a self-important idiot with crew members.

I like Danny though. I know plenty of women do. All that swaggering alpha maleness can be captivating, as long as you are not having to deal with it at close quarters.

But I like him for more than that. I like him because he is not Benedict Cumberbatch, or Eddie Redmayne, or Tom Hardy.

There are plenty more. Posh men who rule the acting world, the sort who began at Eton and made a splash starring in productions at Oxford.

They get to act the full range while Danny Dyer, with his working class roots, is forever typecast as the rough diamond. He’s a good actor and it must be infuriating to see the posh boys get all the parts.

It’s not right and it’s not fair - and don’t even get me started on the fate of female actors.


No one knows quite why, but the Twix bar is at the centre of a storm.

Is it a chocolate bar, or is it a biscuit? People on social media are falling out in lumps over the issue.

Richard Osman of Pointless fame, has waded in to say that, in his opinion, a Twix is a biscuit.

The makers, Mars, are saying nothing at all and its official classification is as “confectionery” so that helps no one.

The peacemakers are calling it a “bisclate” as an unsatisfactory compromise.

Me, I think it’s neither

A Twix is a trauma treat. The sort of thing you choose from the vending machine at 4pm in the office when the alternative is to go cry in the toilet, or in hospital corridors when the alternative is to shake with fear.

No sane person would ever sit on the sofa with a Twix and a cup of tea to make a pleasant moment more pleasant.

It should really come with a health warning.