Tom Allen: Lockdown has made people more interested in artisanal skills


Tom Allen has said he thinks people have become more interested in artisanal skills as a result of the pandemic.

The comedian is the narrator for new Channel 4 series Mend It For Money, which sees craftsmen and women restore antiques.

He said that with people having more time on their hands, they have become less interested in “throwaway” objects.

Allen described Mend It For Money as being “a bit like Antiques Roadshow with the added fun of cold, hard capitalism”.

He added that the pandemic has caused people to “slow down” and recognise the worth of traditional “artisanal” skills associated with restoration.

“I think it’s made people appreciate the value of that rather than making everything so quick and so disposable and throwaway,” he said.

“I think suddenly people are going, ‘Oh, having one thing that’s beautiful and beautifully made is more powerful and more important, perhaps, than having lots of things that one doesn’t care about’.”

The programme sees two people each week pitch their ideas to restore an item and will tell the owner how much profit they think they will be able to make when it is sold.

The successful bidder will then set about restoring the antique.

Graham Norton Show – London
Graham Norton Show – London

“You come to learn what actually has value these days and it is actually quite surprising,” Allen said.

“Often you think, ‘Surely that’s worth loads’, and actually it doesn’t get that much, and then something that’s really specific like a bike that’s very unusual or mid-century stuff, you realise, is much more valuable than you would have anticipated.”

He added that he is not very good at spotting which items on the programme will be worth the most money.

“I haven’t got an eye for spotting anything really, but it is often the most mundane stuff that has value,” he said.

Mend It For Money airs on February 5 at 5pm on Channel 4.