GRAND DESIGNS: SERIES SIX with KEVIN McCLOUD (Roadshow DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

GRAND DESIGNS: SERIES SIX with KEVIN McCLOUD (Roadshow DVD)

Some people watch celebrity chefs on television and buy glossy monthlies with enticing recipes -- and yet still make the same six meals which come easy and never fail.

Then there are others (myself included) who don't open themselves up for the criticsm of such laziness: we watch programmes like Grand Designs -- but would never think of lifting a hammer purposefully.

We admire those who have some grand conceit for a home on stilts or a houseboat built with no plan and from recycled rubbish -- but we mostly admire them for doing it on television where GD presenter Kevin McCloud will say what we are thinking: "Are you mad?"

And some people -- those boat builders among them -- certainly are.

But more often than not these Brits are people with a vision and deep pockets, and even if they don't always sensibly employ an architect, on-site manager or a builder who has done this kind of thing before, the result is always compelling viewing.

In every episode there seems to be that "Oh no!" moment when everything goes wrong -- most notably in this series when the couple in Cheltenham have the walls up for their underground house and they start to leak, or the people who excavate for their modernist family home in Bath only to watch the rains come and their neighbour's retaining wall crash and mud slide onto their site.

These six episodes showcase the eccentric (a Gothic conceit in Monmouth, see clip below which also illustrates the international appeal of watching people build mad or inspired houses) to the beautiful (the pristine, white and hygienically precise "sugar cube" house in Bristol). And there are plenty of "Oh no!" moments, usually involving money.

Having a budget is fine in theory but to have their dream home most of these people end up crawling back to bank managers just to get the job done.

But, as one who lived in a leaky building, once the builders have gone you tend to forget the bad days, the mud slides, the vile weather which held up builders for three months, the meeting with the bank manager . . .

Grand Designs allows you to live vicariously through other peoples' dreams and nightmares, and at the end you get the smug satisfaction of saying "Nice, but I couldn't live in it" . . . or "Are you mad?"

Nothing would induce you to try these new recipes for heartbreak. 

Share It

Your Comments

Angela S - Aug 3, 2010

Yes, I'll admit to being addicted too - his travel programme was very good too but suffered from having to fit a time slot - hopefully there will be extras in a dvd.

PS What language is this this? Sounds Eastern European

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

IN THE ELECTRIC MIST, a film by BERTRAND TAVERNIER, 2009 (Madman DVD)

IN THE ELECTRIC MIST, a film by BERTRAND TAVERNIER, 2009 (Madman DVD)

Based on the James Lee Burke novel In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, this serial killer mystery (with surreal time slips into a world populated by the ghosts of the Civil War) is set in... > Read more

SON OF A LION, a film by BENJAMIN GILMOUR (Madman DVD)

SON OF A LION, a film by BENJAMIN GILMOUR (Madman DVD)

Although the ending of this award-winning film by first time writer-director Gilmour from Australia is something of a cop-out, that takes nothing away from the story and all that is told... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ABNER JAY: Play dem bones and skulls

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ABNER JAY: Play dem bones and skulls

There is an interesting photo of singer and one-man band Abner Jay in the late Seventies playing at what is described as a folk festival. As he pours his all into whatever song has captured him, by... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LEON THEREMIN: The sound of sci-fi and nightmares

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LEON THEREMIN: The sound of sci-fi and nightmares

You gotta hand it to inventor Leon Theremin, no one else had thought of a stringless cello. And if that sounds a bit Dada or like an installation at a Yoko Ono art exhibition, be assured. It... > Read more