I’m sorry to say this, because I know so many self-builders and renovators got hooked on the notion of creating an individual home because of them, but I simply cannot watch another Grand Designs. I get fidgety sitting through a re-run of Property Ladder. And, despite there being simply nothing else on, I will not watch another episode of Build a New Life in the Country.
This is not designed to be offensive to the names either presenting or behind these hugely successful shows. They have done a lot to promote the concept of self-build and renovation and, when I remember quite vividly the night before my job interview at Homebuilding & Renovating in 1999 sitting through a hugely entertaining Grand Designs the night before.
It’s just now, eleven years on, the formula looks very tired to me. Want a self-build show? Then gather together some pretty well-off, rather smug couples who think it would all very jolly to build an individual home; watch them get complete shafted by an architect who knows nothing about build costs, and watch with great anticipation while they go through the regular process of enthusiasm, a sense that they are creating a home that is truly outstanding and different, followed by a costs-spiralling related dilemma. And then, having magically managed to rub together another £100k, they get the damn thing finished, a year late, just in time for the presenter to make mundane comments about light, space and that old favourite, “it really brings the outside in.”
Now, let me just say that I know many perfectly right-minded people who love these shows and feel they are nothing but force for good.
For me, though, surely it’s time for something a bit different?