Let “The Repair Shop” Mend Our World
It’s the office we’d all like to go to. In an historic, thatched-roof barn in bucolic West Sussex, England, a team of expert restorers fixes beloved family heirlooms. Is their work appreciated? Typically, the customers burst into tears when they see the restorations.
The sounds of a music box, unheard for decades, recalls time spent with a grandmother as a child.
A precious antique vase, passed through five generations, accidentally smashed into a dozen pieces, is fitted together as good — or better — than before.
A teddy bear, a comforting companion through a difficult childhood, is given back its button eyes and missing ears, shampooed and re-stuffed, reborn and ready to be passed on to a grandchild, complete with new red bow.
Furniture restorer Jay Blades greets the customers when they come in, and matches them up with the craftspeople who are going to do the work. They are all wickedly competent, and the program shows how they approach each project and overcome the unexpected challenges it brings with it.
Often, they have to figure out something new, even with their years of experience. And if they want to run something by another master restorer, they simply ask one of the team to come over to their desk to have a look. They collaborate. They joke. They praise one another. And we look on and marvel at their good humor and abilities honed from years of practice.
Philosophically, they all promote the idea of reusing objects, rather than throwing them away. And surely these restored treasures will be passed down through many more generations.
One expert in particular amazes me, the clock restorer, Steve Fletcher. How anyone can take apart a contraption with hundreds of small parts, clean and repair them, and put it all back together is astounding. And if Steve finds himself missing a gear or spring or some other part, he just makes one. He’s been practicing his craft for over 45 years.
The narrator has a thick Scots accent (later, a different narrator is Welsh), and each line is written cleverly enough to bring a smile.
Of course, one wonders what object you yourself would want to bring in to be repaired. A painting with an unfortunate tear? A beat-up old violin? A steam-driven toy boat? They’ve all been featured on the show.
How about the world? I’m pretty sure this talented group of individuals could fix it, too. Set them to work on healthcare for all. Racial equality. Peace and harmony between nations.
It might take them a whole season, but I’m pretty sure they’d get the job done with the same professionalism, camaraderie, and good humor they exhibit fixing everything else.
The first two seasons of The Repair Shop are available for streaming on Netflix.