TV review: Grand designs

GRAND DESIGNS(Channel 4, 9pm)

Are you perfectly happy with your home or would you like a blank canvas on which to create the perfect property?

For more than a decade now, Grand Designs trusty host Kevin McCloud has waxed lyrical about everyday folks who wanted to build or renovate their dream house.

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With much of the country stuck for funds due to the recession, it might sound like a cruel form of torture to watch people construct idyllic buildings. However, it seems we're all quite keen to see how the other half live, and the long-lived property show has been one of Channel 4's biggest success stories.

Maybe it's got something to do with McCloud vetting the builds before the cameras begin rolling just to make sure they aren't going to turn out disasters.

"Yeah, I'm always pretty honest," he says, about when it comes to being frank with the DIY developers he meets on the show.

"I have been less than admiring of some of them, though. I say what I think and the real point here is that I get a hand in choosing the projects in the first place. So the ones I don't like, we don't film! It's much easier that way.

"I have to spend 18 months of my life with these people, so that would be just miserable if I hated it.

"There's another point to make here actually, sometimes a design might not be quite to my taste but I'm not really interested in exercising my taste, I'd rather exercise my judgment. One thing I've learnt from all this is that we don't want the world to look the same - there's room for lots of different things, we need diversity."

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If you've been watching Grand Designs from the beginning, prepare to feel old as McCloud catches up with a couple who were first featured on the show more than ten years ago. In one of the series' first projects, Andrew Tate and Deborah Mills took on a site that came complete with a dilapidated, 100-foot-tall water tower, which they intended to convert into a seven-storey bedroom wing for a contemporary family home.

As Andrew is an architect, the modern new build part of the equation proved be simple - but the tower was another matter. For a start, the walls were three-feet thick, so even an apparently simple job like putting a door in took two weeks, instead of the estimated two days.

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When McCloud caught up with the couple three years later, he discovered they still hadn't finished work on the wing, and were living in the main building with minimal bedroom space.

Now he returns once again to see if the project is finally complete, and if all the hard work and delays were worth it.