The Great Pottery Throw Down Season 1

Kristen Fern

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The latest season (season 5) of The Great Pottery Throw Down is now on HBO.

But my suggestion? Start at the beginning with the first season.

Season 1 of The Great Pottery Throw Down is worth the watch. The later seasons display wonderful talent. But the first season has an unrefined quality that fits the style and tone of the show so perfectly.

So let’s get into it. In this article, we’ll talk through the first season judges, the host, and the winner.

How to watch The Great Pottery Throw Down

The show is produced by Love Productions. You can watch ALL the seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBO Max which has streaming rights in the United States. Catch season 1 on HBO and work your way right on through.

Season 1 aired on November 3rd, 2015 with the finale premiering on December 8th, 2015.

What is the format of The Great Pottery Throw Down?

The first season is 6 episodes long culminating in naming a “top potter” in the United Kingdom. In each episode, the contestants complete three activities that test their fine motor skills and design sense:

  1. Throw Down
  2. Spot Test
  3. Main Make

At the end of each episode, the winner of the “main make” activity is named “Potter of the Week” and is guaranteed a spot on to the next episode.

And sadly, the judges close the episode by choosing one of the potters to send home. I get attached to the contestants, so it’s always sad to see someone leave the show!

The very last episode of the series ends with another main make contest. The winner of the contest is crowned the top potter in the United Kingdom.

The cast of The Great Pottery Thrown Down Season 1

Let’s take a look at the contestants from season 1:

PotterAge when aired Episode elimination
Rekha Sameer49Episode 1
Nigel Matthews52Episode 2
James Greenwood31Episode 3
Joanna Morris42Episode 3
Sandra Whyles52Episode 4
Jane Williams40Episode 5
Jim Ranson52Episode 6
Sally-Jo Bond33Episode 6
Tom Knowles Jackson41Episode 6
Matthew Wilcock23Winner
Potters, their ages, and what episode the contestant was eliminated on during The Great Pottery Throw Down season 1.

Top contestants for The Great Pottery Throw Down Season 1

There were a lot of exciting personalities and potters on the first season of The Great Pottery Throw Down. But a few of the makers stood a cut above the rest noted by how long they lasted in the series.

Let’s talk about the potters who made it to the final episode: Who are they? What do they do in everyday life? And what notable work did they make during series 1?

Jim Ranson

Photo from Love Productions

Jim Ranson has a flair for the arts in all aspects of his life. By day, he’s a painter and decorator from Bognor Regis, a seaside town in West Sussex. He also had some EPIC mutton chops.

Jim Ranson came on strong winning the “main make” of the second episode of season 1 with a gorgeous wash basin.

One of Jim’s works from his website

Jim has continued his work in pottery. You can check out his latest, shop his wares, and follow him on social by following this link to his website.

Sally-Jo Bond

Photo from Love Productions

We have a theme for this series! Sally-Jo also had an eye for art. In her day-to-day life, Sally Jo’s an interior designer in Petersfield where she lives.

Sally-Jo didn’t win any of the main make challenges. But she was always a top contestant. I was eyeing her for the “top potter” designation after she won the “spot test” with a style known as “The Devil’s Work” in the final episode.

Tom Knowles Jackson


Tom Knowles Jackson was a retired Army Major. He’s from St Chloe in Cotswolds.

Tom came out strong on the series by winning the first episode’s main make challenge with a set of nested bowls. Tom was one of the more consistent potters in this series. You can always trust he’ll make something worth marveling at.

Tom has continued his work in pottery. You can check out his latest, shop his wares, and follow him on social by following this link to his website.

Click here to see more of Tom’s work.

Who won The Great Pottery Throw Down Season 1?

Matthew Wilcock won season 1 of The Great Pottery Throw Down. Wilcock won in the last episode when he has his competitors were asked to make a 12-piece tea set out of porcelain.

Matthew took the series by storm winning “potter of the week” 4 out of the 6 episodes. Wilcocks became a grungy heartthrob across the nation with his mild manner and blonde dreadlocks.

In everyday life, he’s a teacher from the small village of Giggleswick. Right now he’s cycling across boundaries from John O’Groats to Gibraltar. You can follow his journey on social media.

Who are the judges for The Great Pottery Throw Down?

Judge: Keith Brymer Jones

Keith Brymer Jones has judged all 5 seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down. He’s been a well-known potter even before his debut as a judge. He sells his homewares as an individual artisan. He’s most commonly known for printing retro words and letters on the sides of his wares.

You can visit his site here.

He’s typically the harshest judge with criticism. But he’s also the most likely to get emotional over a special piece of ceramics. In fact, it’s become a bit of a national treasure seeing Keith Brymer Jones cry. And of course, the internet has made it a meme, gif, and everything else.


Judge: Kate Malone

Kate Malone acted as a judge on the first two seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down when it was still on BBC.

Beyond her role as a judge on The Great Pottery Throw Down, Kate has become a well-known ceramic artist around the world and especially in the United Kingdom making incredible pottery.

Her style is unique and recognizable. She plays with nature and experiments with glazes. Check out her work on her website at this link.


Ceramics Tech: Richard Miller

We probably won’t talk about the tech for every season but Rich… is something special. In the first season, he’s nicknamed “Kiln Man Rich” by contestants and judges.

In later seasons, Richard “Rich” Miller was promoted to judge in the fourth and fifth seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down.

He is a significant potter himself. His style is elegant and intricate. Check out his website and portfolio at this link.

Get to know The Great Pottery Throw Down Host from season 1

Presenter: Sara Cox

Sara served as the host or presenter of The Great Pottery Throw Down for the first two seasons.

Before the show, she was a known voice in the United Kingdom. She served as a radio host on BBC One and BBC Two.

A challenge worth mentioning from season 1

Here’s a really fun clip from the first season showing the contestants doing the raku firing stage.

You can see the organic material they choose to use and other things to style their pieces in the post-firing step.


What are you waiting for?! Go watch the show and report back! We’d love to hear what your favorite episode is! Simply send us an email at or leave a comment below.

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