Derby builder goes trowel-to-towel with ITV’s Love Island

A BUNCH of brickies from Derby have discovered they are up against ITV’s smash hit Love Island in what is widely considered the ‘Oscars’ of the UK television industry.

Stars of the BBC reality show Brickies have raised the roof after learning they have made it to the shortlist of the prestigious annual Broadcast Awards, which take place on February 8 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London.

Far from being ‘mortar-fied’ by the prospect of being pitched against one of television’s most popular shows, the brickies at Derby’s Hodgkinson Builders believe they have laid the perfect foundations for claiming victory and are proudly saying “Bring it on!”.

Brickies, a six-part documentary series following a team of young builders at Pride Park-based Hodgkinson Builders, became an overnight sensation when it was first aired on BBC3 last Easter.

It was so popular that a second series was immediately commissioned. Brickies II is set to broadcast this spring, this time promoted to the BBC’s flagship channel BBC1.

In addition to Love Island, Brickies is shortlisted against four other contenders in the Best Multichannel Programme category of the awards; including Big Zuu’s Big Eats, The Hunt for Bible John and Welsh language programmes Drych: Fi, Rhyw ac Anabledd and Ysgol Ni: Y Moelwyn.

Ian Hodgkinson, founder and managing director of Hodgkinson Builders, said: “It’s incredible. We could not believe it when we heard that not only are we shortlisted for a TV award, but we are actually up against the humungous Love Island.

“What a roller coaster year we’ve had! And who’d have thought that a ‘builder’s bum’ from Derby might be up against the those tanned, bikini-clad beauties on the other show!

“But we know that Brickies offers something a bit different – so maybe it’s not quite the David vs Goliath contest that it might appear.”

Ian puts the success of Brickies down to its honesty, and the fact that, through laughter and tears, it adds a real human perspective to the life of a brickie.

“The real reason we agreed to do the show in the first place was to hopefully encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships, due to the severe skills shortage in the UK construction industry,” said Ian.

“The success of the show suggests we’ve done some good in that area. As far as we are concerned, just the fact we’ve been shortlisted means we’ve already won, whether or not we manage to clinch the top award next month.”

Tina Clough, managing director of Poppy PR, which counts Hodgkinson Builders among its list of clients, said: “It doesn’t get much better than this, when one of your clients hits the headlines in such a massive way.

“Some people find Love Island quite shocking in places – but it’s not nearly as shocking as learning that a team of builders from Derby might actually outshine one of the nation’s best-known series.”

Ian’s team of brickies were so gobsmacked at being nominated alongside Love Island that they agreed to put their own spin on the momentous occasion by donning swimsuits in a tongue-in-cheek photoshoot at MKM Building Supplies in Pride Park, Derby.

Ian added: “They really showed their character. It seemed like a fun idea, but I can’t believe my guys and girls were actually up for it – stripping down on a freezing January morning in Derby. It definitely seemed a million miles from where Love Island is filmed in sun-drenched Majorca!”

Hodgkinson Builders, which launched in 1990, is no stranger to the limelight. In 2016, Ian led a group of young brickies to Parliament, where they built a wall beneath Big Ben to encourage more young people to consider bricklaying as a career.

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