SHANE WATSON reviews last night’s TV: Wife who loves her £94k kitchen more than she adores her hubby
Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke
Richard Osman’s House Of Games
Everyone at some point this year has thought: ‘I really have to do something to this house.’
A couple of weeks into the first lockdown and we weren’t just climbing the walls but itching to paint them or, better still, knock one down and install bi-fold doors out into the garden.
Oh how we regretted shelving those plans! And how envious we were of the dissatisfied homeowners in last night’s episode of Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke, (C4) — a round-up of the show’s best transformations, dating back to 2016 — because they hadn’t had to worry about doing anything themselves.
George Clarke presented a round-up of the show’s best transformations
The show does exactly what it says on the tin: it takes a horrible house and brings in an architect who, after submitting ambitious plans, morphs it into a modern home — unrecognisable from, and sometimes twice the size of, the original.
That was indeed the case with medics Nick and Sonia’s cramped one-bedroom flat over a three-port garage in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, which Sonia admitted made her feel ’embarrassed’. The couple owned one of the three garages (too small to fit a car) and that was enough to get the architect’s cogs ticking (even after she’d prounounced it not just an ugly home but a ‘really stupid’ one).
Next thing you knew the garage had been combined with an extension to make an open-plan living area with a sleek kitchen and access to their previously unused garden. ‘I think I love it more than I love him,’ sighed Sonia.
Nick looked pleased but dazed, though that could have been due to the £94,000 bill.
Other highlights included a ‘goldfish bowl’ 1960s bungalow in East Sussex with a space issue — a problem neatly solved with a full-width extension with windows onto the garden and a trellis that provided privacy (£65,000).
And a family house in Bournemouth with an upside-down layout was transformed by connecting the first-floor living space to the garden via steps leading down from a rather splendid suspended timbered terrace (£75,000).
Saddest betrayal of the night:
David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter (BBC4) about a passionate meeting between two married strangers never dates. Celia Johnson’s turmoil is almost unbearable. Her sad eyes alone deserved an Oscar — but Olivia de Havilland beat her to it for To Each His Own.
Previously, the owners had been forced to traipse from the kitchen downstairs and through their bedroom if they had a barbecue.
There’s no doubt there is a ‘look’ that everyone gets in their Lovely House. It’s a bit Scandi, often with timber cladding, bare-wood veneer floors, lots of skylights and always an open-plan kitchen-diner-living room extension, with windows or doors leading to the outdoor space. But then that’s the way everyone wants to live now, isn’t it?
Forget the separate TV room. Forget the back door and a side return. We’re all after the Ikea effect — grey kitchen units and sheepskin draped Hans Wegner-inspired chairs optional. All the owners came away blissfully happy — which you couldn’t always say of Changing Rooms.
Everyone was also in good spirits and pretending to be competitive on Richard Osman’s House Of Games (BBC2). Ex-England goalkeeper David James and former Olympic champ Denise Lewis were the sports brains testing their general knowledge alongside comics Rhys James and Isy Suttie. They’ve been at it every day this week and today the scores will be tallied and we’ll find out who is the winner.
But who cares? This is gold-star fun for quiz and trivia lovers and the real winners are the ones who are the best sports (especially Isy, who keeps buzzing and forgetting the answer).
Best of all it’s an excuse to see witty brainiac Richard Osman doing what he doesn’t get enough space to do on his other show, Pointless: be clever and carry on like an indulgent uncle.
The round of questions posed by children (‘When should you eat chocolate? Answer: after a meal) is clearly his favourite.