BBC catches up with LEGO designer Matthew Ashton for podcast

The BBCs ‘5 Minutes On’ podcast takes a brief look at the history of the LEGO Group and talks to designer, Matthew Ashton.

Covering 90 years of history of one of the world’s most famous companies in a little over five minutes is quite a challenge. Nevertheless, Steve Holden, of the BBCs ‘5 Minutes On’ podcast, gave it a go. If you’ve got, well, five minutes, then it’s worth having a listen.

Holden, who is a self-confessed LEGO fan, covers some historical bullet points which will already be familiar to those with an interest in the humble brick.  The meaning of Leg Godt (anyone?), the fact that the LEGO Group are celebrating their 90th anniversary (they are? If only they’d said something) and the fact that they are extraordinarily profitable.  

Of more interest is what Matthew Ashton, LEGO designer, had to say as he dropped in to the newly revamped Leicester Square store. Apparently Ashton’s desire to design toys harks back to when he was eight or nine years old. He was watching the Tom Hanks classic, ‘Big’ on TV while playing with his brother’s LEGO bricks, and suddenly realised what it was that he wanted to do with his life.

He joined the LEGO Group in 2000, just before a very dark time in the company’s history, when annual losses and increasing debt made the future look very grim indeed. Ashton talked about the fact that “When I first joined, the company was really struggling and had sort of lost its identity and had really lost the core of what made it successful.” 

He went on, talking about the early 2000s, and said “So there was a big turnaround shortly after I started, and that was when it was like, right, back to basics, we’re going to build the company up again from its great foundations of where we should be.”

Ashton also talked about the unintended boost that the LEGO Group received from the Covid lockdown, saying that they were “Not only catering to our usual fanbase, but trying to attract adults who may never have played with LEGO since they were a child by introducing things that are just like beautiful objects that they might want in their house or one their wall. Like a stylish design piece or a bouquet of flowers.”

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The podcast can be found on BBC Sounds and will be available for at least a year.

If that’s sparked a desire to pick up a new LEGO set, please consider using our affiliate links. Every purchase supports Brick Fanatics. Thanks.  

One thought on “BBC catches up with LEGO designer Matthew Ashton for podcast

  • 13/08/2022 at 11:40
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    Haha I was the person who made this podcast. Thanks for the write up… the challenge was to make a 5 minute podcast that catered for the Lego novice and the Lego expert! I’m a big fan of Brickfanatics.com so really appreciate this! Steve

    Reply

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