Friday, 2 March 2007

Our endless sense of entitlement will hang us all Pt2 Grand designs

Grand Designs is probably one of the most obscene shows on TV. It ranks alongside all the second homes abroad shows as an outstanding niche viewing. Out of the worlds population the number of very rich people is less 1% and the percentage of these who build their home must be low and yet channel 4 and its sister channels dedicate at least 6 hours a week to them. The programme wallows in the immoral wasting of huge sums of money on palaces to vanity to of their creators. Every week the show has the same plot a couple have the idea for some big old house they proceed to overspend, budgets double and treble, plans expand etc. Often perfectly decent houses are knocked down without a hint of recycling anyway. We are invited to ooh and ahh at vastly expensive sinks, acres of the Yorkshire dales are quarried for “impressive wet rooms”. Towards the middle there’s some problem with window that’s too big “oh what will they do?” Then at the end (after they have forked out more cash) it’s all ok, the rich people have a lovely home to swish around in and everyone coos at their dramatic use of space, luxury bedrooms and spectacular living rooms. It is an orgy of spending and waste, where deluded posh people are cast as heroic champions, it’s Ayn Rand gone mad (der). The only good thing about the show is Kevin Mccloud who against my better judgement I quite like, he seems a decent sort (would probably stand his round) but even he can’t redeem this cesspit obscenity
It got so bad that I stopped watching as I found it so annoying but while waiting for something else to come on I flicked through it a few times. This week’s series opener was some architects spending again obscene amounts of money to turn a Yorkshire ruin into an ersatz castle. The witless couple obviously have never heard of the “grandfathers axe” paradox and spent the thick end of £1,000,000 building their own castle with a thin veneer of the original on the outside. The new twist to this bloated hour and half programme (why are channel 4 programmes always so overly long) is that c4 favourite the after show follow up show. In this show “Kevin McCloud is joined by interior design guru Naomi Cleaver and award-winning architect Deborah Saunt” to stir the preceding 1 ½ hours pot of ordure and basically slagging off or praising the builders for their use of stone taste in chairs etc. This witless worship of needlessly expensive housing is truly decadent, they rarely touch on the sorts of housing most people live in (they vaguely justify it all with the formula one trickle down excuse) and just foster an atmosphere where the spending of vast sums of borrowed money is seen as normal and desirable.
Over to Phil and Kristy as they help a picky gay couple buy flats in London and Paris arggggggh!


Coventry Blogger said...

Actually somebody told me once that Kevin McCloud is a pain in the neck, but I can't remember who they were or whether they'd actually met him so that's no good is it?

Anonymous said...

It's a good programme.

The best thing about it is that it's actually about design rather than associations with glamorous lifestyles or throwaway makeovers.

Whilst not everyone can afford the houses in the programme it's about making design decisions which will be more lasting than the LL Bowen generation of makeover programmes.

People in this country have a had generally low understanding of design for years, and this programme has been successful in doing something about this.

Strangely I think Trinny and Sussanah have been pretty good at this too, but that's another thing....

BLTP said...

anon, don't get me wrong i like a good design programme but the design content of "grand design"s is minimal.You rarely see the dialogue between designers and clients.Also most uk homes aren't newbuild so the lessons aren't that much use for all. I also think it and all the other property porn programmes are helping fuel our obession with home owning the fruit of which we are starting to see. Are we going to see repossession repossession repossession anyday soon?
as for trinny and susanna it's several years since I've seen their show so i couldn't say, it is on ITV so I'm not holding out much hope! ;)

francis shaw said...

I am sad that you thought my wife and myself witless, I think if you try to rebuild a castle in the dales the first for 100 years the best way is to appear naive. The truth is that English heritage stabbed me in the back and pulled the permission. Your carping unpleasant criticsm lacks any justification. The project was done for half the estimated cost and on nearly time (2 months over) only Grand Designs like to twist a story.As to money I have restored houses for 20 years and been on 3 holidays with few weekends off I am not rich perhaps you should think before writing your offensive remarks. You are capable of better
Francis Shaw