Grand Designs Live, Channel 4

by | May 6, 2008 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Grand Designs is a great programme, with its gentle music and peaceful pace. So we were shocked and disappointed that this was such a noisy, cluttered mess that has devalued Kevin McCloud as a TV presenter and severely dented the Grand Designs brand.

What was good about it?

• The second programme was a little better so at least some lessons were learned from the terrible opener.

• The pre-recorded visits to spectacular homes around the UK were successful, especially as they brought some calm to the frenetic proceedings.

• We like George Clarke, one the the three “experts” backing their pet projects. But the other two – Naomi Cleaver (gushing) and Janet Street Porter (preachy) – are horrible. Street Porter interrupted at every available opportunity even if it was only to spout something meaningless (“Having been on that journey myself…”).

• McCloud did have the good grace to point out “calls from mobile phones can cost considerably more” during the pointless phone vote.

What was bad about it?

• The Top Gear-ification of Grand Designs with a whooping audience, shouting presenter, lame attempts at comedy and illustrative music (including Country House by Blur, of course).

• Kevin McCloud, not helped by dreadful sound quality, sounded horrible shouting.

• The build-a-house-in-a-week segment is so unimpressive. It’s all prefabricated and only has to be erected, so it’s not much of a challenge and certainly not worthy of the can-we-make-the-deadline excitement with which it is treated in the programme.

• Bill Bailey as the jokey project manager and Dave Gorman as the roving reporter did themselves no favours. Bailey is usually funny but was just silly; Gorman is usually insightful but was just bland.

• The item which could have come with a junior version of Tomorrow’s World in which McCloud, and ex-Blue Peter host Peter Duncan tested heat-keeping glass.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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