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Living the pie life! Top baker Phil’s delight as Turner’s Pies hit TV screens in BBC film

Award-winning pie-maker Phil Turner has achieved an abundance of accolades during his time heading up the tasty exploits of renowned Bognor Regis bakers Turner’s Pies. But Phil admits he is chuffed to bits to break new ground with the latest development for the company that will see them on our TV screens tonight.

He admits he is really excited ahead of the family-run firm starring in a revealing BBC1 documentary that lifts the lid on the prestigious British Pie Awards, which is held annually and is seen as the ultimate event to showcase the delicious offerings of pie-makers throughout the country.

Phil and his team have become used to having their work celebrated and it was a case of more of the same when Turner’s Pies won class champion with their mouth-watering steak and mature cheddar pie at the ceremony. Now the story is featured on the Beeb show Life of Pies, which is screened tonight (Monday 24th June) at 7.30pm.

The TV cameras followed Phil and various staff members, including dad Phil Snr, at the British Pie Awards, billed as the “pie industry’s event of the year”, along with more than 200 bakers. It charts their progress as they prepare for the annual event. No-one is in any doubt that it is a competitive industry as bakers battle for a share of more than £1billion a year that Britons splash out on pies — with 75 per cent of us munching at least one a month.

Phil, who oversees the company’s four shops – which are located in Chichester, Bognor Regis, Rustington and Worthing, said:

“We really are super excited at the prospect of featuring on national TV. We’re obviously very serious about our business and we were delighted to win another award.

“This came after we enjoyed tremendous success last year when our steak and ale pie got the nod as the supreme champion. It scored 99/100 thanks to what judges called a “perfect pastry parcel” making it a big winner – and it actually beat 950 entrants.

“It was a really different experience being filmed for the BBC and although it’s very serious to us and the industry there was lots of room for humour, and we managed more than one or two giggles during filming. The whole experience was brilliant and we are so glad, and proud to be honest, that we were considered good enough to be the subject of such a great documentary. Having seen what goes into the whole process of filming I can tell you that me and the team agree that we will be continuing with pie-making as opposed to trying to forge new careers on TV!”

Anthony Bartram, the film-maker who made the documentary, said he very much enjoyed lifting the lid on the history of the firm — which goes back through three generations after being formed back in 1933 and, in particular, the aspect which stood out was being able to reveal

“the lovely family story behind the business”.

*Life of Pies is part of BBC One’s Our Lives series – a collection of programmes from across the UK celebrating the diversity of our society.

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son.