The Great British Baking Show was the first significant reality hit imported from the BBC. The baking competition took viewers by storm, first on PBS and now on Netflix. But most American fans didn't know the show had spinoffs. In fact, it has two: The Great British Sewing Bee (which is GBBO meets Project Runway) and The Great Pottery Throw Down. The latter arrived on HBO Max this month and includes a contestant who has royal ties. But who is Flea on The Great Pottery Throw Down, and how is she connected with Prince Harry?
The joy of all of these "Great British" reality series is the amateur nature of them. Complete nobodies from anywhere can walk into the tent, and if they are talented and determined, they can one day back a cake for the Queen of England, the way Season 3 winner Nadiya Hussain did.
But sometimes those nobodies turn out to have colorful and interesting pasts. In the latest season of The Great Pottery Throw Down, one of the contestants, Flea, was once a model. And during her years in front of the camera, she caught the eye of Prince Harry.
Fans of the royal family know that while William and Kate were always a will-he-or-won't-he settle down romance throughout their 20s, Harry was a bit, er, more free during his bachelor years. Most people know about his relationship with Chelsy Davy, which lasted on-and-off from 2004 to 2010, and Cressida Bonas, who he dated from 2012 to 2014. But in between, there was Flea.
Flea's full name is Florence Brudenell-Bruce, and in 2011 she was working as a lingerie model while trying to make it as an artist. The newly-single Harry reportedly asked her out, but it didn't last long. At the time, the British magazine Tatler dubbed her "the one that got away."
Like Harry, Flea has since married and settled down to have kids. But when postpartum depression hit, she turned back to art at an outlet, specifically ceramics and pottery.
Hopefully, her skills at the pottery wheel will help her go far. The show is a fascinating look at what goes into creating pottery, in all its forms, from teacups to toilets. (GBBO has Bread Week, GPTD has Toilet Week. Trust me; it's way more fun than you'd think.) Between the spectacular Main Makes (Throw Down's version of the Showstopper) and the smaller, fiddly Spot Tests and Throw Downs, the series keeps the clay spinning and the fires burning, all while the contestants do their best for the clay and each other.
All three seasons of The Great Pottery Throw Down are streaming on HBO Max now.