Friday, June 30, 2006

Kevin McCloud has got Grand Designs

Do you share Kevin McCloud’s sordid fascination for people trying to build the house of their dreams while simultaneously leaving their common sense in the bank manager’s office while signing the huge loan they inevitably need?

I do. It’s been compulsive viewing for the last few years. A voyeuristic fascination with other people’s pain and suffering at the hands of building projects.

In the world of reality TV though, Kevin McCloud gets to stand at a distance from the fracas all around. It’s not his money, his reputation, his graft that’s being viewed and dissected. It’s a bit like a newspaper film reviewer standing in front of the cinema screen, critiquing the unfolding plot. No skin in the game, so very easy to pass judgement.

Well, Channel 4 are turning the tables on Kevin McCloud. He’s signed up for Kevin’s Grand Design (a working title) in which the eponymous presenter will build an entire village!

The programme will follow him attempting to raise the millions of pounds of investment needed to fund thirty houses. It was all going sweetly until the original investment fell through, putting McCloud back on the road to get some money from the City. Expect fun and games as he jumps though the planning approval process hoops.

Filming is expected to continue over the next two years, so there are no details about how soon the four hour-long episodes will be screened.

Improving the quality of housing in the UK is Channel 4’s aim – with an emphasis on sustainability and affordability. It’ll be fun to see the pressure on McCloud after all these years.

Maybe a follow-up will see how Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer would cope relocating out of London and up to the North of Scotland, and watching Sarah Beeny tarting up a dilapidated tower block in Manchester’s Moss Side.

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