Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Forget Football, Forget Athletics, Great TV Sport Is All About Sheds
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: forget football, forget athletics, it’s all about sheds
Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year (Channel 4)
With Eurovision been and gone, Britain’s Got Talent over and X Factor still over the horizon, I’ve been jonesing for a televised competition to root for. Alright, so there was The World Cup and The Commonwealth Games but neither of can compare with…Shed of The Year. Presented by the ever-enthusiastic George Clarke as part of his Amazing Spaces series, the competition throws light on a hidden sub-species in British life – the Sheddies.
We’re midway through the three-part series and this week’s instalment covered Summer House/Cabin sheds and sheds fulfilling their true destines as Workshops. The finalists in the first category could not have been more different from each other: a frontier cabin in the English woods home to a mummified Yeti, a gothic shed with a hidden underground shell grotto, a huge shed built to mimic an Elizabethan lodge and a Caribbean hideaway in a lady’s Shropshire garden.
It was Alban, the creator of the Elizabethan lodge that stuck with me most. The 76-year-old ex-carpenter has built an entire garden full of sheds. They ranged from a sentry box created to celebrate the Jubilee to a mock-up of a medieval jousting tent and a sandstone outdoor toilet shed. The lodge was among three sheds built for his grandchildren. The other two are a gothic cottage and fully-kitted out post-office. It all left the usual £10 in a birthday card from most grandparents looking a little limp.
The workshop sheds were no less remarkable. First up was a graffiti artist showing off the Stencil Shed, a collection of customised sheds with a conifer tree bursting from the roof. Then we were treated to the smallest entry of the week: a performance shed that pops up around the country to allow musicians to serenade an audience of one. Pleasingly, the unusual venue is owned by a man called Don Quixote. The final two sheds were The Den – a beautifully detailed shed filled with equally beautiful birdhouse built by the perfectionist owner – and a shed dressed up as a vintage motor works used for restoring classic Austins.
The whole show is utterly delightful but I particularly like how the X Factor school of presentation has seeped into the affair. After watching the judges debate the merits of the sheds in each category we’re treated to an underwhelming shot of George in a hall announcing the winner. Every time there’s the same dramatic moment and overlong pause deployed by Dermot O’Leary of an autumnal Saturday night. The quaint subject matter only makes those moments more hoot-worthy.
If you missed out on the first two episodes of Shed of the Year, you can catch up on 4OD. Next week promises to be even more charming with “normal” and pub sheds in the running before the overall winner, the shed of the year is revealed. Simon Cowell wishes X Factor was still so suspenseful.
Photo: Amateur astronomer Dave Grennan with the telescope he built himself for his Raheny Observatory in Dublin, which is a shed in his back garden that has a retractable roof. Mr Grennan, a 9-to-5 software developer, has discovered three supernovae or exploding stars over four years from a shed at the bottom of his garden. Date: 28/04/2014