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Jay Blades says The Repair Shop 'fixed' him by making him part of a family

Jay Blades says The Repair Shop has changed his life. (BBC)
Jay Blades says The Repair Shop has changed his life. (BBC)

Jay Blades has shared how The Repair Shop has "fixed" him by making him a part of the family he always wanted.

The furniture restorer is one of the stars of the BBC One show which sees guests bring along items of sentimental value that they would love to see returned to their former glory.

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Viewers have warmed to the personal stories guests share, as well as the family feel of the team - something Blades says has been life-changing for him.

The 52-year-old was a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, where he told host Lauren Laverne how his own difficult childhood had left him ill-prepared to be a father to his own son at 20.

Jay Blades with co-stars Will Kirk and Steve Fletcher. (BBC)
Jay Blades with co-stars Will Kirk and Steve Fletcher. (BBC)

Talking about his TV role, he said: “The Repair Shop has fixed me because what it’s done is actually brought me into another family, that’s people in front and behind the camera, who have looked after me and understand my kind of, I’ll call them differences, and just accepted them.”

He added: “Kirsten, Steve, Will – you have to be there to understand that what you guys see on TV is brilliant, don’t get me wrong, it’s even better in real life.”

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On the show's appeal, he said: “It talks about stuff that we all want, which is community, people coming together, love, and then also just kindness.

“It’s like people just feel comfortable and just open up.”

Blades told how his mum had given birth to him as a teenager, his father had run off with money intended to buy a flat for them after his grandparents kicked his mum out of the family home, and later in life he had discovered 27 half brothers and sisters.

The show features guests' treasured items restored. (BBC)
The show features guests' treasured items restored. (BBC)

He said that his younger years had been blighted as the victim of racist bullying, and by being targeted by police during the period of stop and search.

On becoming a father at 20, he said: “I wasn’t ready, plain and simple. I didn’t know how to be a father and it proved that I wasn’t ready because I didn’t stay with Maria, Levi’s mum, very long.

“I think I stayed with her for about a year and that was it. If you don’t see something you can’t be it. You have to be taught how to do it or you have to see a positive role model.

“I had a lot of positive role models as uncles growing up, extended uncles, but I never saw them being a father, I normally just played with the kids and we just went out, we did what we did.

“I didn’t see what they did as being a father. So it’s very hard for me to do that. Really, really hard.”

Watch: Dame Judi Dench appears on The Repair Shop for Comic Relief