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Boost for Stoke-on-Trent as Great Pottery Throw Down returns

Fans the of Great Pottery Throw Down are getting fired up, ahead of the start of the new series.

The show, which sees amateur potters take on numerous challenges, was filmed at Middleport last autumn. 

It had been axed by the BBC after two series, prompting thousands of people to sign a petition calling for its return.

Made by the same team behind the Great British Bake Off, the Throw Down has now also been taken on by Channel 4.

Starting on More 4 tonight (8 January), new host Melanie Sykes will ask 12 contestants to step up to the wheel.

But as well as entertaining viewers, chair of Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Destinations Paul Williams says the programme will help boost tourism and showcase what the Potteries has to offer over the next 10 weeks - as the previous two series have already done. 

He said: "It takes what we know and love around ceramics and pottery making into living rooms of a different audience week in and week out.

"It puts the whole ceramics industry, Middleport Pottery and what we are renowned for here in Stoke-on-Trent out to a much wider audience.

"We know from the previous two series that the 'Throw Down Effect' builds momentum throughout the series, so that more and more people may be influenced to come and have a look at what we do, and what we are so proud of, in the city.

"There has been an undoubted positive impact on people signing up to pottery classes.

"Some of our local firms here, such as Valentine Clays and Dimbleby Ceramics, saw an increase in people wanting to go along to see what was on offer there and sign up to classes.

"I also hear that significantly more of the filming also took place in and around the city, so it will be interesting to see where else comes to the fore as each episode is aired."

The first episode of the new series will see Keith Brymer Jones, along with new judge Sue Pryke - who replaces Kate Malone - ask the 12 potters to craft a breakfast set from clay.

Paul says that while there will be a couple of new faces on the show, he expects some things won't change.

He said: "There will be a few tears from Keith, you don't need to bet on that!

"He is very passionate about what happens from a pottery making perspective, and very passionate about the significance of craft to young people."

The Great Pottery Throw Down starts on More4 tonight at 9pm, and will be repeated on Sunday 12 January on Channel 4 at 6.45pm.

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