Our Welsh Chapel Dream viewers devastated as star dies after 'beautiful episode'

Oldrich Asenbryl and Keith Brymer Jones -Credit:Channel 4
Oldrich Asenbryl and Keith Brymer Jones -Credit:Channel 4

Our Welsh Chapel Dream viewers have been left devastated after learning that potter Oldrich Asenbryl who starred in the most recent episode of the Channel 4 show had died. During the third episode of the series, ceramic designer Keith Brymer Jones took a break from renovating his 160-year-old chapel in Pwllheli with his wife Marj Hogarth to visit Sarn Pottery.

Once there, Keith, who many will know from The Great Pottery Throw Down, was introduced to Oldrich, who founded his studio on North Wales' Llyn Peninsula 50 years ago. The Czech potter gave Keith a tour of his studio and unique ceramics as the two potters bonded over throwing clay, pots, and kilns.

"It's a bit wild for your refined taste," Oldrich told Keith of his ceramics as he showed him the work he was most proud of. "I like all forms of pottery and what you can really tell about your work is it's really well-accomplished and it's got a real history to it," Keith responded.

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A glass-half-full character, Oldrich told how the 1980s were a pivotal moment in his life after he suffered a life-changing stroke, paralysing the left side of his body. While it put an end to his precise ceramics works, for Oldrich, it also opened another door.

He told the camera: "I taught myself to make pots one-handed. I adapted my technique. What's the point of being laboriously boring, making things with a little brush? So I just use a big brish and splash it about and became free. But I couldn't do it without the help of my wife, Jenny."

Jenny also starred in the show, telling viewers that she fell in love with a plate at Oldrich's studio but then "saw him and fell for him," and that they'd been married for over 30 years. Keith later sat down to have a go on Oldrich's Fitzwilliam Wheel and told him he'd have to come over to his new studio at the chapel when it was up and running.

Calling Olrich a "fantastic chap," Keith told cameras: "It's just literally down the road, so I'll be able to pop up here and talk about pots. Marj will be pleased because I won't have to talk about pots to her, so that'll be good! We could just bore each other with pots, Oldrich and I, over Budvar."

However, after the episode aired, Channel 4 shared a tribute to Oldrich, that simply read: "In Loving Memory Oldrich Asenbryl 1943 - 2024."

Oldrich Asenbryl -Credit:Channel 4
Oldrich Asenbryl -Credit:Channel 4

Keith also took to Instagram to reveal that Oldrich had passed away. In a heartfelt tribute, he wrote: "Some of you may have already watched Episode 3 of Our Welsh Chapel Dream. There is a piece in the episode where I visit Sarn Pottery to see a wonderful potter called Oldrich and his equally wonderful wife Jenny.

"Sadly, Oldrich passed away last week. He was an incredibly accomplished potter, even more so given the fact that he suffered a stroke in the early '80s, but still managed to make pots. He was someone whereby his medical condition did not define him, his creativity and his love of clay did.

"He spoke so eloquently and honestly about his life and it is one [of] my favourite pieces in the whole series as it is for Marj, as he speaks of the stroke and adapting to the way he worked.

"As a true creative (no matter what discipline) one's path is never certain, one adapts and evolves to suit one's environment and personal circumstances. Oldrich was an inspiration in this regard. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Jenny and his family."

After learning of Oldrich's death, fans shared their own messages of support as one wrote: "I am so sorry. Also, you seemed to be so excited at the prospect of visiting him now that you are neighbours, and having the chance to talk about everything to do with clay and pots."

While another added: "So sad. He was such a creative soul, and an I’m sure he’s been an inspiration to many," and a third commented: "Oh no! Thought you would be visiting him for some time to come."

As a fourth said: "So sad to hear. Such a wonderful meeting of 2 fabulous potters. A beautiful episode. Sending love to his family." You can keep up to date with the latest TV and showbiz news by signing up to the newsletter here.