After a decade on the air and several seasons on Netflix, The Great British Baking Show has become a fall staple for reality show fans. Now it looks like HBO Max is hoping to create the spring rejoinder with Love Productions' other hit reality series, The Great Pottery Throwdown. After bringing over the initial two seasons from the BBC plus a newly revived Season 3 in the first months of its debut, HBO Max is settling into importing the show's seasons wholesale once it finishes its UK run. The Great Pottery Throwdown Season 4, which just aired its finale on Channel 4 on March 14, will arrive on streaming at the top of April for American viewers.
The Great Pottery Throwdown was initially put out to pasture by the BBC along with The Great British Sewing Bee after GBBO moved house to Channel 4. But you can't keep a good lump of clay down, and when HBO Max was looking for a GBBO of its own, Channel 4 decided to rev the wheel back up. Much like GBBO, that meant some turnover in judging and hosting. However, unlike the Netflix hit, it kept the most valuable of its original cast with pottery artist Keith Brymer Jones, who genuinely believes that a well-spun pot is a joy forever.
This season sees more turnover around Keith, with another new host Siobhán McSweeney (Derry Girls), replacing Season 3's Melanie Sykes. As for the new judge, after three seasons of aping the GBBO format of a male-female judging team, GPTD has decided to try something new. Season 3's Sue Pryk (who took over for original judge Kate Malone) will be replaced with Richard Miller. Longtime fans of the show know him as "Kiln-man Rich," who up until now has been the (mostly) silent fourth man on the full-time staff, who shepherds the contestants' creations through the fire. A new kiln-master, Rose Schmits, takes over tending the ovens.
Like Season 3, the new season will consist of ten episodes and 12 contestants, ranging from 20-year-old uni student Alon to pensioners like Ara and Peter. The challenges range from tea sets to water features and cover all kinds of pottery styles, including the fan-favorite Raku challenge. Also of note, after multiple seasons of "Toilet Week," the show is expanding its repertoire and turned the semi-final into "Bathroom Week" with items like pedestal sinks on the Main Make list.
Also of note, unlike GBBO, which famously filmed this past year in the "Bake Off Bubble," Channel 4 produced The Great Pottery Throwdown's new season during one of the breaks between lockdowns. That means it feels more like a typical season than one where people don't get a lot of time to practice and stress is higher, while the production tries to pretend everything is fine. It does mean that when there was a positive covid test among the crew, production paused in the middle of one of the challenges. The show addresses that situation head-on, and the results that week take into account the disruption experienced by the contestants.
Like all HBO Max's British imports, The Great Pottery Throwdown will not follow a weekly schedule but debut binge-ready with all episodes at once. The show premieres on Thursday, April 1, 2021.