Did we like it?
The foundations were firm – an exploration of Britain’s “eyesores” by Kevin ‘Grand Designs’ McCloud – but the edifice crumbled a little.
What was good about it?
• Janet Street-Porter as the show’s troubleshooter, tackling planners and developers responsible for the unpopular buildings in her forthright manner. Trips to Holmfirth and Bournemouth had her moaning about a horrendous supermarket that upset the folk on the Last Of The Summer Wine coach trip and an imax cinema that destroyed the view of the coast – but she stood up against a man who wanted to pull down the wonderful council building in Aylesbury.
• The close-up view – and timelapse photography – showing the demolition of a Sheffield office block
• Trick photography showing buildings washed away by the waves or sent into space.
• The justified hatred of the Tudorbethian Utopia being created by Britain’s housebuilders for easily pleased middle Englanders.
What was bad about it?
• Kevin McCloud is a fine presenter but he was overwhelmed by the talent show aspect of the series in which an X List (echoing X Factor?) is being drawn up of the buildings which need to be removed from the landscape.
• The knee-jerk reactions against many modern buildings and the support for anything old or, even worse, resembling old. The hatred of the Scottish Parliament and some other feted buildings smacks of visual illiteracy. The Gateshead Multistorey Car Park, used in the 1960s film Get Carter, is a great landmark, not an eyesore. We also liked the Cement Works in Rugby. Even the Greater London Council overflow building has its merits.
• The worst building – the horrible out-of-place Westgate House in Newcastle – only came in at number 12 in the list of the Dirty Dozen.
The Dirty Dozen
1 Cumbernauld shopping centre
2 IMAX cinema, Bournemouth
3 Bus station, Northampton
4 Crown House, Kidderminster
5 Cement works, Rugby
6 Park Hill estate, Sheffield
7 Gateshead car park
8 Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
9 The Tower, Colliers Wood, London
10 Lodge’s supermarket, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
11 No 1 Westminster Bridge (aka the GLC overflow building
12 Westgate House, Newcastle