Thursday, 18 September 2008

Property shows on tv

Right now I wouldn't like to a commissioning editor in charge of the vast swathes of factual telly that consists of property shows. For at least a decade now, daytime and primetime telly has revelled in everything linked to property. From the paint-it-beige-and-make-£50K lot to Kevin McCloud and the self-builders; from auctions to makeovers to gardens, property shows are the backbone of many schedules.

And now no-one wants to know.

Oh, sure, it'll be quite a lot of fun to see Property Ladder's Sarah Beeny putting on her oh-so-sad-why-didn't-you-listen-to-me face when she tells some idiot developer that they've lost £100K. But it'll get as tedious as it did when everyone made shedloads of cash despite painting the ceiling of the living room with a homage to the Cistine Chapel and coming in 90% over budget.

The grandad of all of them, Grand Designs, is also cutting back on who they film and when, as it's taking much longer to get money and therefore do any building at all. And, to be frank, despite being a big fan of the show, there are only so many square glass boxes I can drool over.

All those improve-and-sell shows have already remodelled themselves as 'invest in making your home better to live in'. It's not that convincing though, as the makeover show's only point to me was the "now your house is worth loads more" valuation bit.

I say all this now for two reasons. Firstly, a friend went to see that Guy Ritchie movie, RocknRolla or some other such ridiculous title. He said there were hoots of laughter in the first ten seconds when some voiceover started up about how you could make so much money on property in London, it was impossible to lose. Er, yeah? Now? Surely Mr Madonna knows that isn't the case any more. Maybe changing that script cripples whatever passes for plot in his movie, I dunno.

And I watched The Price of Property, C4's new show examining why we've got to where we are. There's some annoying man who sold his flat in London and went to live in France for a bit, then came home to find he couldn't afford here any more. He sounds even less sharp than Guy Ritchie. Can't watch British telly or read UK papers or interweb sites in France, Mr Hot Shot Reporter, eh? Ooooh big shock that houses cost more than they did, innit?

Anyway, ep one was OK, but ep two was terrible. Reporter man wandered around some small village in Cornland where the locals complained about the city dwellers buying second homes for vast amounts of dosh, and the city dwellers all said how fab the locals were. They won't think that after seeing the locals whine about how they were bloodsuckers destroying their village.

Cue lots of Cornish people whining they can't afford houses, and an odd subplot with a tenant farmer saying he can't afford to buy as he only makes £300 a month from working 70 hour weeks. Hmmm. Maybe the problem isn't with the property market, it's more with your job there matey? Just a thought...

I understand why the locals were upset but they had no solution (well, apart from one builder suggesting constructing a wall to keep everyone else out of Cornwall). They talked about how the village had been a thriving fishing port, lots of shops and pubs and community spirit... but no-one said that there are very few fishing villages any more, that without the 'second homers' (made me think of The Simpsons and laugh every time this expression was used) the village would certainly have plenty of cheap housing but still no jobs or pubs or shops.

Lots of locals worked servicing these people too, and the only good part of the whole doc was when Reporter Man stumbled across some locals who made loads of money selling in the village, moved to the council estate further away and then complained their kids couldn't afford anywhere. You had to laugh when one guy admitted he owned a second home in Spain - but Demon Reporter only found out by mistake and then wandered the beautiful streets whining about property killing the village.

No it's not. The village is dying as a viable community anyway, and the only thing keeping it afloat were the views and the property. It looked perfectly horrendous to me, but I love big noisy throbbing cities and the idea of living in a little cottage overlooking the sea drives me to despair.

Anyway, it was a fairly shabby piece of television, although I do like shouting at the screen when such things are on. Oh, and then there was a very odd US sitcom about Lego gay people on E4, but even a hack like me can't make these two items flow together so I'll do that next time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!