The Blog

You've Either Got or You Haven't Got Style

Your Home In Their Hands has the strutting, pouting, preening Celia Sawyer as its host. Hostess might be more to the point as on first appearance, she looks as if she might show you to your table in a Las Vegas strip club.

As the latest incarnation (the twelfth) of Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi seems to have divided opinion. Some find him too grumpy. Some reckon he's too old. Some don't consider him attractive enough. Some wonder why he can't be a bit jokier. Some even wish that he could have been a she.

Those viewers wanting a sex change in their TV favourites won't have been disappointed if they'd tuned into BBC 1 last Thursday (September 24) evening at 8pm. They would have witnessed the latest incarnation of another man also rather fond of a frock coat. Yes, Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen has had quite the makeover.

In case you're wondering about the hair, the good news is that it's all still there. Now, however, it's bleached blonde and big. It was always big, wasn't it? Only this time round, it's Barbarella big. As for his wardrobe. Well, let's just say it's nice that, after all these years, Liberace's dresser is still in gainful employment.

But it isn't only Larry who has been regenerated for a new age, so too has the whole Changing Rooms concept. The same, but not quite the same, if you know what I mean. It's amazing what a quick lick of paint and a few gallons of Elnett can do.

Your Home In Their Hands has the strutting, pouting, preening Celia Sawyer as its host. Hostess might be more to the point as on first appearance, she looks as if she might show you to your table in a Las Vegas strip club.

From Four Rooms fame, she's now downsized to three.

I'll briefly explain the format. Every week, two couples hand over the keys to their suburban palaces. A pair of amateur interior designers, and boy! do I mean amateur, are each given a room to transform.

After two days, the owners of said palaces return to pass judgement. The designers then come together to work on a third room, normally the lounge/diner. Three days later, the owners again return to deliver their verdict. On the evidence of the designs thus far, it's guilty and the death penalty would be too lenient a sentence.

All the while, Celia is on hand to critique. Apparently, she is qualified to do this because she is an interior design guru, having done up the houses of the rich and famous for over a decade. Who knew Stevie Wonder had that many homes.

Episode 1 saw Kelly and Andy from Harefield wanting to revamp their bathroom, bedroom and lounge. Andy not wishing for anything too va va vroom preferred white, cream and beige. If only the Kelly he was married to was Kelly Hoppen, they'd have been no need for the agony he was about to be put through.

Their designers were Nick - a visual merchandiser ( OK, window dresser) - and Kirsty, who was something to do with the theatre and looked like Zandra Rhodes on acid.

Nick's bathroom just about passed muster, as long as you didn't mind the two words that came into your head every time you went to the toilet being 'Easy Jet'. The predominance of orange was a tad blinding. All the same, Kelly and Andy seemed to like it.

This couldn't be said for their bedroom, which Kirsty had renewed to the best of her ability- tricky when you haven't actually got any. She described her style as maximist opulence with a hint of fairy land thrown in for good measure. Andy's horrified face simply said: "Pass me the magnolia".

When it came to the lounge, Nick and Kirsty joined forces in an uneasy alliance. Let's be honest, it was the decorative equivalent of Obama and al-Assad.

With each brightly coloured species of bird that Kirsty produced from her ever expanding wooden menagerie, Nick rolled his eyes and suggested that she concentrate on what she was good at, which was sewing.


Obviously, the end result was a nightmare, a recurring nightmare from which poor Kelly and Andy may never wake.

Over in Portsmouth, things were going little better for Yvonne and Dan. Unluckily for them, the two designers they got lumbered with were Janet, a boutique hotel owner who loved to upscale old tat

(turning it into new tat) and Anjou, a woman who described her style as Austin Powers in a tropical location. Yeah, but no, baby.

Yvonne and Dan had every reason to be terrified. And who could blame them? As they sat by the sea trying to reassure each other, Anjou was inflicting intolerable acts of cruelty on their kitchen in the form of luminous yellow units, a stripy floor and a myriad of mismatched tiles.

In the bedroom, Janet was turning it into a Parisian prostitute's boudoir. I'm not suggesting this is a style Dan was familiar with, but he was totally bowled over by it. This success and the fact that Anjou's kitchen made Yvonne cry gave Janet carte blanche to completely take over when they had to work their "magic" in the lounge.

Having had one too many of her ideas shot down in flames, Anjou surrendered and ceded all control to the panzer division that was Janet.

Much to my surprise and Celia's no doubt, Yvonne and Dan adored the lounge, proclaiming they wouldn't change a thing. Must have been the fake piano radiator cover which swung it.

Anjou's closing comment that her creative rival was rather like a dictator certainly got me thinking. What would The Berghof have ended up like if only Janet had been responsible for its decoration?

Of course, everything about this show is as appalling as the taste of the participants. By all rights, it should be on Living. It's formulaic, it's lazy programming, it's even lazier commissioning, it's badly presented, it's dreadfully scripted and, worst of all, it's a complete waste of licence payer's money.

Personally though, I can't wait for the next episode. In the meantime, has anyone got Anjou's number? We've just bought a place that badly needs doing up.