- Monty Don
Episode 1 of 6
Duration: 1 hour
Monty Don, a huge fan of traditional crafts, presents a series which celebrates six of the craft skills that built Britain and its heritage, ranging from thatching to stonemasonry.
Under Monty's watchful eye, three hopefuls who are passionate about learning these trades are put through their paces by the country's leading practitioners of wood craft, metalwork, thatching, stonemasonry, weaving and stained glass. After six weeks of apprenticeship and labour, their work and achievements are judged by experts in their chosen field to see who has best mastered the craft.
In the first episode, 46-year-old garden designer Charles Hooper, full-time student and single mum Sarah Charlton, 33, and 29-year-old supply teacher Tom Vaughan begin their intensive apprenticeship working with green wood, undeterred by the gruelling schedule.
There are a little over 600 dedicated green wood workers in the country today, including the episode's mentor Guy Mallinson. He left a successful cabinet making business in London for a new life in Dorset, devoted to the simplicity of green wood craft. He works without power tools, screws or glue or fixings - just freshly cut or unseasoned wood and ingenious tools, such as the pole lathe and the steam bender.
While Monty explores the importance of green wood in history, the trainees learn how to cleave the raw material, to turn blocks of wood on the pole lathe, and to manipulate the components fresh out of the steam bender. Then comes the final test - designing a chair and making it with no assistance.
Can they pull it off and impress the country's leading authority and published author on green wood, Mike Abbott?