Last year on a trip to America I made sure to swing by 1329 Carroll avenue - or for those not in the know, the house from TV show Charmed. I started watching the show at a mere eight years old and accounting for the eight seasons of the show plus all the reruns on Netflix it was an awful lot of time to invest in a television show. When we decided to go to L.A it was one of the first things on my to do list, to me the house was a monument and just as cool as going to see the Hollywood sign. In the modern world TV can be a huge presence in our lives and the opportunity to get out and see some of these locations has an appeal.
Luckily, it's not just me, my partner at the time wanted to go and visit the school Buffy the Vampire Slayer was filmed at (I'm sure you can now see why we were perfect for each other). What could possibly be interesting about a school that featured as a backdrop in a 90's TV show about one woman and her disdain for vampires? It turns out it was pretty cool and we spent a good hour taking pictures of each other infront of recognisable features that are now framed and on the wall.
But we aren't crazy ultimately it's probably a relatively new phenomenon but visiting the homes of the characters we grew up watching on TV mean more to us then walking around a museum looking at a 300-year-old feather used in the sacrificing of the outsider ceremony. In fact, a study from security experts Yale recently found that a fifth of Brits are so fanatical about popular TV shows that they have been to visit homes which feature in those programmes.
The fascination with TV homes doesn't just end at visiting film locations. Nowadays people like myself like to collect props and replicas of important items from our favourite shows. Take Harry Potter for instance, whilst it's not my cup of tea, many fans drop some serious cash on replica items. A wide selection of wands are available to buy, setting a consumer back around £25 and for more lavish items, like Dumbledore's Cup, you are looking at handing over a good £80. However there is a market for it and fans of the films are more than willing to save up to own what they consider to be a rare piece of memorabilia. I myself have a few replicas around my room from various shows I've been interested in. Ultimately I'd rather spend money on that than some random ornement from IKEA that means nothing to me. They are good talking points and not that far removed from any other collectable hobbies like comics, stamps or coins.
In the modern world TV memorabilia and visiting filming locations has become a hobby in its own right. I've also visited Central Perk from Friends when a replica coffee house opened in London. I enjoyed taking pictures seeing the props and being around others who enjoyed the same. However it appears I'm not as hardcore as some TV fans, Yale also found that 15 per cent of adults have been inspired by television programmes when decorating their house and almost one in 10 have ambitions to model aspects of their homes on a property from a particular TV show. Whilst I've never considered modelling my home on TV sets there are some amazing examples out there, fans in America have taken the time to build their dream houses from Up and The Flintstones to name but a few. Here in the UK Del Boy's Peckham flat in Only Fools and Horses was recreated for people to rent at 1981 prices to mark the anniversary of the series.
Personally I don't think enough credit is given to this hobby and I think more money could be made by companies who offer authentic replicas and set tours. Can you imagine how popular a Central Perk coffee shop would be if it opened for real in London? Or how much money people would pay to live in flats designed to look like Monica's apartment or Carrie Bradshaw's for that matter? Brits love TV and like it or not it's designed to be aspirational, I think in the future we might see more companies looking to capitalise on this niche hobby.