BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts student Tom Gerardin has been hailed as one of Britain’s top emerging designers, after being selected from thousands of applications to take part in Channel 4’s top reality challenge show LEGO MASTERS.
The show sees eight pairs of amateur fans compete against each other building ambitious brick creations in the second installment of this competition series. Sliding in to the Great British Bake Off slot on Tuesday evenings, LEGO MASTERS also features tense timed challenges and plenty of emotional drama.
The teams have their design, originality and construction skills put to the test in a battle to be crowned Britain’s most talented amateur Lego builders. From constructing an eye-catching and weight bearing bridge, to re-creating an memorable moment in history. Each challenge showcases creative, imaginative and technical abilities and is judged by the VP of Design at the LEGO Group, expert judges and celebrities including Paddy McGuinness and Rob Beckett.
We caught up with Tom to talk about his time filming the show, and how he’ll be putting his skills into practice during his studies...
How did you hear about the opportunity to go on the show, and what was the application process like?
I found out about the application while I was scrolling through Youtube one evening, I fell down one of my usual Youtube rabbit holes. The whole process was fairly simple, but it took a long time. There were many Skype interviews and some auditions where I had to travel up to London and build something while under the pressure of a time limit.
Sounds like they were really testing you! So how did you feel when you heard you had been selected to feature on the show?
I remember I was sat in sixth form during lunch break with my friends and I saw my phone ringing with a London area code, so I immediately ran out and answered it. Lo and behold, it was the producer on the phone telling me I'd made it onto the show and I couldn't describe how thrilled I was, I literally cried.
What was an average day like during filming?
The average day of filming was very fast paced and very stressful, but to be honest I was having the time of my life spending the whole day building with one million LEGO pieces. It's so hard to describe but being on that set and on that show is the best thing I've ever done (well, so far).
What was your proudest moment or most incredible achievement?
I wouldn't say I had one distinct moment but without a doubt the best part about the show was the cast and being paired with my partner on the show, Nathan. I am so grateful that I had the chance to spend this once in a lifetime experience with such amazing people and when you see the show, you'll see just how great they all are.
What kind of challenges did you and Nathan face together?
I'm not allowed talk about the building challenges but I can say that we were able to plan for some but others were just sprung on us and they were extremely difficult. Nathan and I didn’t know each other before filming started, the show actually paired us up, but I’m so glad they did as he was a fantastic partner for the builds and really cool under pressure.
Where did your love of building and LEGO come from?
I've been a fan of LEGO since I was four years old. I remember standing in the kitchen and my parents gave me my first set which was a Star Wars kit called 'Final Duel 1' (7200) and because of that set I was hooked. And ever since then it has been my dream to one day become a LEGO Designer.
How do you think you will use your skills during your studies at college?
In today’s society I feel, and have experienced myself, that young people are being lead to express ourselves in more academic ventures such as science, maths and English. Through LEGO MASTERS I was able to fully immerse myself in creativity whilst being surrounded by like minded people. Sharing ideas and expressing this creativity are both skills I will be using at Plymouth College of Art.