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Imagine: Edmund De Waal – Make Pots or Die

Tue Nov 5, 10.35-11.35pm, BBC1

If pottery is all about taking distinctly unpromising raw substance and moulding it into something wonderful, then ‘Imagine’ has somehow located a middle ground by taking reasonably promising material and creating something reasonably intriguing.

Edmund de Waal is a ceramicist and, recently, bestselling author after his gripping family memoir ‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’ became a surprise hit. Alan Yentob duly pitches up to follow De Waal during a busy year of preparing for a show in New York and researching his next book, a study of our relationship with the colour white through the history of porcelain. De Waal himself is enthusiastic, but diffident to a fault.

The resulting documentary is a little too piecemeal to really satisfy fans of either his art or his writing, and isn’t able to shed huge amounts of light on either the man or his working practices. Tomorrow, however, sees De Waal as the subject of BBC4’s excellent ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’ series at 8.30pm, which should offer more insights.