BBC The Repair Shop expert admits show return is 'bittersweet' after heartbreaking family loss: 'So courageous'

BBC The Repair Shop expert admits show return is 'bittersweet' after heartbreaking family loss: 'So courageous'

WATCH HERE: The Repair Shop's Richard Biggs on his 'bittersweet' return to barn after death of his wife

GB NEWS
Alex Davies

By Alex Davies


Published: 11/04/2024

- 11:11

Updated: 09/05/2024

- 12:20

Optics expert Richard Biggs sat down with GB News to discuss his time working in the famous barn

The Repair Shop expert Richard Biggs has candidly admitted how he finds returning to the show's iconic barn "bittersweet" following the death of his wife, Jan.

Speaking exclusively to GB News, the optics expert opened up about how one of his wife's final wishes was for him to return to BBC barn and lend his expertise to a neglected item, despite him not wanting to leave her side during her ill health.


This month marks the anniversary of his spouse's death and Biggs bravely shared the story of how his late wife convinced him to return to help a guest in need, telling the optics expert: "It'll be good for you when I'm gone."

Biggs explained: "It's a difficult time at the moment... it's all part of the barn as well. Gosh, where does one start?

"I love working in the barn, no question. I love watching The Repair Shop... but it's a bit bittersweet.

"My wife was also an avid watcher and we were ticking off things on her bucket list and one of them was to go and visit Arundel Castle and whilst we were there, we'd go up and look at the Weald and Downland Living Museum and stand at the road like everybody else does, looking at the barn and trying and get a glimpse of some of the experts.

Richard Biggs

Richard Biggs often lends a helping hand to guests in need on BBC The Repair Shop

BBC

"We came home and she was getting really quite ill by then," Biggs continued before explaining how he soon received a call asking him to return to The Repair Shop as an expert.

He went on: "So a couple of weeks later, with friends and family phoning I had the phone on speakerphone all the time, I got a call from Ricochet [The Repair Shop's casting agency]. Did I want to go and repair a World War II U-boat binocular.

"So I was beginning to explain that I couldn't leave my wife at that time and she said, 'No, no, no' - this is the hard bit..."

Biggs took a moment before sharing his wife's heartbreaking words of encouragement: "She said, 'You must do it. It'll be good for you when I'm gone'.

Richard Biggs and Dominic Chinea

Richard Biggs and Dominic Chinea pose with a happy The Repair Shop guest after their restoration

BBC

"So I arranged nurses to look after her during the day and one to sleep at night with her on the days I was up at the barn," Biggs explained before going to commend the reception he received from his fellow BBC cast mates.

"The reception I got at the barn, it was absolutely fabulous," Biggs said. "The experts were just so supportive, and the crew.

"Then I obviously came home and the bosses at Ricochet actually sent me the CD of my episode so that Jan and I could watch it, because it wasn't going to be broadcast for quite a few months.

"And of course, it's April (and) she actually passed away on the 19th. So lots of memories, getting out the photographs... She was so courageous, it's crazy. You know, she was in such such a state but she was thinking about me.

"Every time I go to the barn, it's brilliant working there, I absolutely love it, but it's bittersweet that she made me do it."

Elsewhere in the tearful interview, Biggs continued to praise his fellow The Repair Shop experts for their outpouring of support during the understandably difficult time.

He added: "The experts, they were and still are as lovely in real life as they appear to be on the screen, they're absolutely remarkable.

"They are so modest. They're brilliant at what they do and yet they're so modest about it. You can see that in the faces as that cloth is about to be revealed."

BBC The Repair Shop's Richard Biggs

BBC The Repair Shop's Richard Biggs spoke exclusively to GB News

BBC/GB NEWS

The latest series of The Repair Shop kicked off on the BBC on Wednesday night but sadly for Biggs and his fans, the optics expert won't appear on-screen.

"It's not up to me," Biggs said of his future on the show. "It's up to the contributors, and Ricochet. The last one I did was this time last year in April, I haven't done anything for a year, which has been disappointing.

"Apart from financially, it's... I would love to be there tomorrow, if they found (an item for me) I'd load up the car and go.

"It's strange because it was two or three each year for quite a few years. I've done 10 all together. But nothing for a year.

"They did phone last year and said they've got a pair of sunglasses, one lens missing and the arm broken. That is not my skill set, I've never worked on sunglasses. But other than that, they've not come up with anything."

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