While Sarah Beeny warns us about the perils of the breakfast bar and George Clarke finds something wonderful in a woodshed, it's off to Spain and Portugal for Amanda Lamb and Jenni Falconer
Double Your House for Half the Money (Monday 1 July, 11am, Channel 4) isn’t the most succinct of titles for a homes show. Extend the House you Live in Now for Half the Money it Would have Cost to Move to a Bigger One works for us, but we understand the problem.
No matter. It’s got Sarah Beeny and we all love watching Sarah and not only for all those is-she-isn’t-she moments (you know, like Daphne Moon in Frasier). She knows her stuff, too, our Sarah. She knows about budgets. She knows about building. She knows when intrepid couples are doing the right thing; and when it’s going all pear-shaped. And she isn’t afraid of telling them.
In this one Sarah visits Hinckley in Leicestershire, where the budget mustn’t cut into an IVF fund; and Bristol where extending into the basement mustn’t (wait for it) become a bottomless pit. Thank the Lord Sarah is on hand. Don’t miss her advice on breakfast bars – in short, they are the work of the devil.
Nobody does gusto like Housetohome favourite George Clarke in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (Tuesday 2 July, 10am, 4Seven) and the subject of ‘micro design’ and small-spaces-put-to-work has him straining at the leash like nobody’s business.
It’s cuddly design and technology teacher Tim Sands who’s the star of this episode. Tim – who’s all of 25 – has used his ‘life savings’ to buy a plot in the Lake District and build his own woodsman’s hut. ‘As we came up that hill and I was banging my head on your Land Rover,’ says George, ‘I didn’t know why the hell you were doing it…’
For Tim has learned everything he knows about building from, well, You Tube. ‘I am by no means perfect,’ acknowledges Tim, ‘and by no means expensive and I’m often found in skips – so this is perfect.’ Yes, the hut is an architectural version of Tim himself, and George – because he’s George – can hardly contain himself. ‘Now that we’re here,’ he says, ‘it’s beautiful.’
Beautiful, too, is our Amanda Lamb of A Place in the Sun (Wednesday 3 July, 10am, More4). You know Amanda – she ‘needs no introduction’ according to the Channel 4 website. Ex model (remember that Scottish Widow?) and ex estate agent, Amanda now gets paid to go to gorgeous far-flung places and make telly programmes.
This time hold onto your hats for ‘property mogul’ Nigel and his ‘interior designer’ wife Melissa from Southampton (we won’t ask why they might need help buying a house). The pair are, apparently, fed up with dreary winters in the UK. Aren’t we all. Will Murcia in south-east Spain ease their pain – and, more to the point, will it be a patch on Amanda’s very own rather nice medieval apartment, a hole-of-the-bolt-variety in Puglia?
While DIY SOS has its DIY SOS – The Big Build, Location, Location, Location has Relocation, Relocation (Thursday 4 July, 10.10am, More4). You get the idea: the same sort of package; a different sort of wrapping.
Back in the mists of TV time, delectable duo Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer met mother and daughter Sara and Gill, who had a dream of running a rural pub with B&B rooms. Apparently this involved Kirstie and Phil working really hard, searching high and low for picturesque pubs in three of the most expensive counties in Britain. Yes. A pub crawl – something we can’t quite imagine old Kirstie and Phil being averse to.
Busy they might be, but there’s always time for the K/P banter we’ve grown to love. And Kirstie getting cross, of course. You wouldn’t want to miss that. Tune in to see if Sara and Gill’s Wiltshire life of pulling pints and smoothing eiderdowns was worth leaving Twickenham for.
Jenni Falconer’s no slouch either. From Blind Date, Holiday and This Morning to telling me I haven’t won the lottery on a horribly regular basis, she’s now produced a sports gear range for Debenhams and is about to return in a new series of Fantasy Homes by the Sea on the Home channel.
If you can’t wait till then, enjoy this rerun that heads to Portugal (Friday 5 July, 2pm, Home) and have a look at what you could buy if only you had a wedge of £350,000 burning a hole in your back pocket.
Jenni’s always charming and watchable, sports a nice tan and hair-do, and has a commendable wardrobe of floral frocks designed to blow beautifully whichever dream coastline she happens to be strolling along. What’s not to like?