I’m not someone who’s ultra-competitive... I’m too laid back for that
Police officer-turned-TV presenter Rav Wilding, 41, puts his artistic skills to the test in Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters. Pioneering a homemade revolution, he tells GEMMA DUNN why he was only too pleased to flip the script and try something new
How would you sum up new show Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters? IT’S a celebrity craft challenge show, so we are given various tasks to do in our houses, and then we do another head-to-head task in a studio.
Anything we make is judged by very tough judges. I think it could definitely kick something off; look at the (Great British) Bake Off, that was so huge, and got people back into baking cakes with Mary Berry.
This could get people back to basics, doing something fun, having a laugh and using some old bits and pieces from their house that they can turn into something else.
With such busy lives, how likely is a handmade revolution? EVERYONE is busy, I get that. But everyone has got time to be swiping up on their phones all the time?
I’ve even come off Instagram for a while now – it won’t be forever because I need it for work – because I felt myself constantly drawn to this thing. I just think we all need to have a look at what we’re spending our time on.
That’s the thing with this craft show, it’s almost going back to a couple of decades ago.
You’re going head to head with your TV pal Angellica Bell in the challenge. Are you competitive? NO, I don’t think I am. I am terrible; it drives TV directors mad because they expect me to be this ubercompetitive guy and they’re desperately trying to gear me up and say, ‘Come on, you’ve got to win this, Rav’ and I’ll be like, ‘Nah, not really’.
I’ll try my best, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not the sort of ultracompetitive person that say a sports star would be naturally. I’m just not that guy, I’m too laid back for that.
How did you handle the constructive criticism dished out by the judges?
DO YOU know what? When
I went to the studio, I met the judges for the first time, very briefly, and they said, ‘Nice to meet you.
Just so you know we’re going to be very tough on you’.
I sort of laughed it off, thinking, ‘Well it’s a craft show, you’re not really are you?’.
As soon as the cameras rolled, they came hammering down on me, so they weren’t messing around.
They were pretty tough, but you know what? I did Strictly (Come Dancing) and I had Craig Revel Horwood, so anything compared to that is a walk in the park.
This is an entirely different line of work for you. Did you ever feel outside of your comfort zone? OH YEAH, definitely, because I don’t really get the chance to do that sort of thing. But then that’s exactly why I wanted to do it.
A lot of what I do, I turn up, I get handed a script that’s been written by someone else, and told, ‘These are the words, say them’.
Whereas at least here I could have a bit of fun, try something different, and have a go at a totally new area for me. I never thought I would be sat in my kitchen making a flowerpot!
What was the most challenging aspect of the process?
MY HEAD is a weird thing. I’ve got this thing called dyspraxia, so I have a hand-eye co-ordination disorder – I’m dyslexic as well – so I find it very difficult to do anything intricate.
The only way I can do anything is if I can see it, visualise what I am supposed to do.
So when the challenges were given to me, and I was told, ‘ You’re going to do this’, because I couldn’t see what it was going to be like at the end, I did find that really hard.
But I knew it was a bit of fun. I didn’t take it too seriously; I knew it was a laugh and it was a family show.
You left your job in the police force for TV. Do you think about what could have been?
YEAH, all the time. So it was 19 years a month or two ago that I joined (the police) and I do wonder all the time what would have happened if I stayed.
I wonder that daily because it was such a great job. It was a tough decision to leave.
I get quite jealous of my mates (who are still there). I see them as the ones who are really flying high.
Does working on Crimewatch mean you can almost merge the two worlds?
EXACTLY. I actually did Crimewatch for three years as a police officer, so I wasn’t a presenter.
It was only because I got offered lots of other things that I would always turn down, because I was in the police, that I thought, ‘Well if I don’t try it, I will never know what could be’.
So that’s why I took a break from the police and did some TV and never went back, because it’s the way it panned out.
You never know unless you try.
You recently starred in the All New Monty line-up. What else would you like to do?
I WOULD love to do some more fun things, things where I can show my personality.
I’m really keen on a documentary to talk about dyspraxia and dyslexia and things like that, because since I was formally diagnosed a couple of
years ago, I’ve researched it quite a bit and there’s so much that I genuinely didn’t know about this.
I’ve been working a little bit on that to see if I can get it off the ground.
■ Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters is on Channel 4 on Mondays at 5pm.
Rav Wilding and Angellica Bell on Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters Rav Wilding pictured on the red carpet, left, and Kirstie Allsopp, above for new show Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters
Rav (back row, third from right) with the stars of ITV’s The All New Monty: Who Bares Wins
A young Rav, back right, with the BBC’s Crimewatch team in 2004