As the title suggests this programme is about "grand designs", or house that are a bit special, I don't think all of them are great but some of them are truly works of art. Its interesting to see ordinary people embarking on these projects the costs involved are often astronomical and out of reach for the normal Joe, but seeing the project from the drawing board to completion, as well as all the headaches along the way is great entertainment. Most people would love to live in one of these houses and it is great to see these properties are still be made here in the UK.
I happened upon Grand Designs on Channel 4 when it started. I had been half-heartedly watching house makeover, house selling, house buying and house investing shows, and getting progressivly more bored of them. Imports like "Home Makeover: Extreme edition" were the tipping point of ridiculousness, but before they were imported to the UK, Grand Designs appeared.
Instead of the silly time limits and often miniscule budgets. Instead of the amateur or loony design advice, Grand Designs offered usually well thought out plans, reasonable timescales and lofty ambitions in both lifestyle and architecture. It demonstrated that it is still possible to film open ended projects and broadcast whatever results they produce. It isn't necessary to do everything inside of a week, or on a pointless budget. The houses built in Grand Designs are built to last, built to the highest standards.
Apart from that refreshing change, the show is usually beautifully filmed, well researched and although it's stars are often infuriating or baffling, Kevin McCloud guides us through with enthusiasm and honesty. The key point about the projects featured is there sense of adventure, some unique aspect to their planning or goals that set them apart from the dull residences that spring up from foundations every day. The show's willingness to broadcast a worth project even if it is left unfinished is admirable and only adds to the reality of housebuilding that the program tries to convey.
The only flaw in an otherwise great piece of television is the way in which they show us how projects came to an end if it was beyond the scope of the original program. Instead of re-visiting the build quickly and finding something new to talk about, they edit 10-15 minutes from the original and pad the end of it with a final visit from Kevin to see how things have worked out. The relatively few episodes bring sunken hearts when I see the words "re-visited" in the synopsis.
If you're bored of reality TV and don't see it any more. Consider watching this on re-runs, or even just flicking through the Channel 4 pages devoted to it and every build.
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