As Caroline Quentin primes the satnav for a leisurely drive to Clapton in Gordano, Somerset, Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts dash hell-for-leather between Stoke-on-Trent, Berkshire and Derbyshire
Remember when Caroline Quentin used to be really silly? Remember Whose Line is it Anyway?, Men Behaving Badly, Jonathan Creek? These days Caroline is More Serious.
If she’s not up a hill in Cornwall in a pair of stout walking shoes and a rainproof (in, yes, Cornwall with Caroline Quentin), she’s thesping it up in a classy bit of Poliakoff (Dancing on the Edge) or grimacing in a hard hat at dry rot and cracked brickwork in Restoration Home (Wednesday 17 July, 8pm, BBC Two).
Like most TV homes shows, Restoration Home does the budgets. It does the rain-soaked building sites and the homeowners-with-a-story. But two-up-two-downs there are none.
In their stead we get 13th-century Yorkshire mills and Norfolk manor houses. We get Somerset churches and Sussex pumping stations. And, best of all, we get Kieran Long Architectural Expert and Dr Kate Williams Social Historian. Marvellous.
Caroline’s strictly front of house doing the how’s-it-all-goings and the oh-dears with the homeowners. Kieran (in retro Michael Caine specs so he must be clever) sticks to cellars – or the east wing – poking brickwork with sticks, while white-gloved Dr Kate (her glorious pre-Raphaelite locks denoting her knowledge of history) pores over crumbling volumes in dark, dusty libraries, both uncovering the property‘s hidden past.
In this episode our Caroline meets lovely Anne and Peter who’ve poured their life savings into Little Naish, a gothic-tower-in-a-walled garden in Clapton in Gordano. No not Hackney; Somerset, silly. This property may start off derelict, sad and rotting, but that only makes its transformation more glorious – and its pedigree uncovered by the Clever Ones more fascinating.
In their 10 years of presenting Homes Under the Hammer (Friday 19 July, 11am, Home) Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander have never let something like history slow them down…
Homes Under the Hammer is, well, something of a frantic affair. You may be sofa-bound and slippered but, after the leisurely, learned pace of Restoration Home, believe me, you’ll be left breathless.
Goodness they’re busy bees on this show: you don’t get just one property here. Oh no. You get three. There are auctions, there are owners and their plans, there are estate agents (three of them), there are re-visits three months later and look-at-what-they’ve-dones. Then it’s bring back those estate agents for more valuations. Blimey.
You’ll be glad to get back to work for a rest. Tune in this week for two terraced houses and – ahem – a tyre shop in, respectively, Stoke-on-Trent, Berkshire and Derbyshire. Wot, no crumbling Georgian ancestral pile?