About the author: Jemima Lesser blogs for Cushion Couture, the home of cheap cushions online.
There is a terrible plague affecting modern society. I’m not talking about war, or famine or even global warming. This affliction began in the murky depths of daytime telly and has crawled, oozing, into the evening and weekend schedules like some monstrous new species. I am referring, of course, to the not-so-new breed of TV property programs.
As the economy continues to stumble and the housing market wheezes its way to recovery, it seems an inverse trend is taking place. Alongside the increasing inability for most decent and hardworking Britons to actually be able to buy or indeed build a place to live, there appears to be a growing propensity for TV toffs to tell us all about the joys of doing exactly that! The inner grump in me is compelled to combat this tide of insanity by taking hapless viewers on a bitter tour of the property program world, just to achieve some semblance of balance on the issue.
Kirstie & Phil’s Evil Empire
We’ll start with Kirstie and Phil. The undisputed tyrants of property programming, their empire spreads far across the land. Joining forces for Location, Location, Location, they occasionally take time off to boss people individually inside and outside the properties they already have, as well as the ones they want to buy, with shows like Phil Spencer: Secret Agent and the terrifying Kirstie’s Handmade Britain. (Personally, I suspect the latter could be some sort of smokescreen for Kirstie’s plans to open a full time orphan sweatshop with her ill-gotten millions). The duo’s brand of humour, emulating an arsey married couple who jibe constantly at one another in barely concealed contempt, is almost embarrassing to watch. The only respite these two get from bickering is in sniping at the optimism of would-be buyers for daring to hope for a two-bed terrace priced at less than half a million within the smoggy corridors of Greater London. Fat chance.
Kevin McCloud’s ASSpirationalism
Moving swiftly on to Kevin McCloud, the smug and airy face of TV’s middle-class-only-zone. Grand Designs is an hour of your life you will never get back as you marvel enviously at the seemingly effortless procurement of rural beauty spots for the purpose of erecting different shaped boxes made out of Swedish wood and Russian glass. Where else in real life can you find actual non-fictional people who like to have a bath in entirely transparent outbuildings powered by eucalyptus flavoured steam generators? And the apple-cheeked, braying Yuppies who wish such monstrosities upon our beloved countryside always say they’ve run out of money about three-quarters of the way through, yet somehow manage to finish the project. They haven’t run out of cash, this is a blatant lie to make you feel better about being poor and them seem more humanoid. It’s frankly ridiculous.
The Worst of the Rest
Homes Under the Hammer sells us the unlikely utopia of housing development when most of our own walls are falling down around us, Sarah Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare creates a window into the stately homes we’ll never own, let alone go to ruin. The Restoration Man, The Home Show and the everlasting A Place in the Sun: Home or Away. It’s a miracle there’s anything else on the box at all! All these programmes really do is show us what the haves have got and what the have-nots haven’t. Put down the remote, get yourself outside and pitch a tent for the weekend. It’s the only way to get out of the TV property plague for a breath of fresh air.
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