Newark College Alumna Stars in Hit BBC Show

By Newark College
Becky Houghton at The Repair Shop barn

A graduate of Newark College’s esteemed School of Musical Instrument Crafts has taken to the small screen to feature in a prime-time BBC One programme. 

Becky Houghton, who graduated from BA (Hons) Musical Instrument Crafts (Violin Making and Repair) degree in 2008, appeared in BBC One’s The Repair Shop

The long-running show sees family heirlooms restored for their owners by experts in a broad range of specialisms. 

Becky, who specialises in making and restoring stringed instruments and runs her own luthier business, was drafted in to help restore a fragile violin dating back over 100 years. She said: 

“I was phoned up unexpectedly in summer 2020 by a researcher from the TV programme. They asked me lots of questions about my work and said they were looking for a luthier to join the Repair Shop team.” 

The episode commenced filming in August 2021 where Becky faced the challenge of restoring a German trade violin for a family whose great-grandfather played professionally in several orchestras and jazz bands after moving to Europe from the Caribbean in the 1920s. 

The painstaking restoration of the much-treasured keepsake took several weeks to complete due to the poor condition of the instrument, including removing the front, fixing cracks, restoring the bow, and replacing the strings. 

“From the moment I stepped into the barn I loved it” added Becky. "The other restorers and craftspeople were exactly as they appear on the TV – warm, kind and lovely. I really enjoyed being part of the show and it must have been well received as they are currently looking for other instruments for me to fix.” 

Peter Smith, Violin Making and Repair tutor at Newark College, commented: “Becky was an engaging, intelligent, and articulate student so it's no surprise that together with her Violin Making and Repair skills that she arrives on our TV screens to engage the nation and draw us into the mysterious world of the inner workings of the Violin.” 

Catch up on the episode on BBC iPlayer (Series 9, Episode 1) or find out more about our BA (Hons) Musical Instrument Crafts degree courses at Newark College.

Becky Houghton with the newly restored violin
Becky Houghton with the newly restored violin
Behind the Scenes of The Repair Shop
Behind the Scenes of The Repair Shop
Newly restored violin on The Repair Shop
Newly restored violin on The Repair Shop
Becky Houghton at The Repair Shop barn
Becky Houghton at The Repair Shop barn

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