What a tight squeeze! Even our cars are facing an obesity crisis: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV
Your Home Made Perfect
What’s bigger, a Mini or a Rolls-Royce? Trick question, of course — it’s the Mini. Even the smallest family cars these days are like battleships, and that’s why nobody parks in their garages any more.
A Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow used to be twice the size of most motors, the last word in glamorous motoring. Andy Warhol had one in the Seventies, and so did Freddie Mercury, complete with a prototype car phone . . . even though the flamboyant Queen singer couldn’t drive.
But a Silver Shadow was 71 inches across the beam, or 1,803 millimetres. The standard Mini today is 1932mm . . . that’s 76 inches wide, including the wing mirrors.
So the solution to Middlesbrough couple Ruth and Lindsey’s space problem on Your Home Made Perfect (BBC2) was pretty obvious: turn the garage into something useful. The front door of their Nineties detached house opened straight onto the stairs, with no hallway and a right-angle turn into the living room
The average garage, on the other hand, appears to be designed for a Ford Model T or an Austin Baby, pre-war runarounds scarcely broader than bicycles. And even if you could squeeze your hatchback under the sliding door and into your home’s parking spot, how would you ever get out of it?
Few Brits today can edge along a three-inch gap between car and wall. If we were once a nation of thin-cut fries, we’re all chunky chips now.
So the solution to Middlesbrough couple Ruth and Lindsey’s space problem on Your Home Made Perfect (BBC2) was pretty obvious: turn the garage into something useful. The front door of their Nineties detached house opened straight onto the stairs, with no hallway and a right-angle turn into the living room.
Lindsey was afraid that losing the garage to create a broad entrance would take value off the property but, unless they’re planning to sell to a French onion grower who wants somewhere to park his 70-year-old Citroen 2CV, that garage was not going to tempt buyers.
Say what you like about the ineffably vain Lord Alan (‘business’s greatest showman’, according to the voiceover) but at least he doesn’t wear his jacket like a coathanger. He probably knows he’d resemble a minor Mafia don too arthritic to get dressed properly
Fronted by Angela Scanlon, this show is the best of the many interior design formats currently on TV. Unlike the numerous programmes that challenge amateurs to revamp a room with chintz and Velcro, to create ‘their own signature look’, Your Home Made Perfect uses professional architects and state-of-the-art software.
The moments of ‘virtual reality’, when plans are transformed into 3D computer designs, are invariably impressive. It’s the 21st-century version of Blue Peter’s shortcut, ‘Here’s one I made earlier’: we see walls slide away, kitchens pop into existence and picture windows flood the rooms with light. If only having the builders in was always so painless.
Given a choice between having my home redesigned by eight-year-olds and a team from The Apprentice (BBC1), I know which I’d pick. The children of a junior focus group, assessing terrible toys invented by Sir Sugar’s novices, were mature, articulate and insightful compared with the rampant egos among the wannabe tycoons.
This year’s fashion seems to be wearing your jacket like a cape. Perhaps 19-year-old Ryan-Mark feels like an impresario with his coat over his shoulders, but it looks more like a badly fitted strait-jacket. Bossy Lottie was also struggling to get her arms into her sleeves.
Why do they imagine this looks stylish? Say what you like about the ineffably vain Lord Alan (‘business’s greatest showman’, according to the voiceover) but at least he doesn’t wear his jacket like a coathanger. He probably knows he’d resemble a minor Mafia don too arthritic to get dressed properly.
Meanwhile, sidekick Claude Littner has been reminding me of someone, with his bald head and supercilious smile, and now I’ve worked it out. He’s the double of Donald Pleasence as villain Ernst Blofeld in You Only Live Twice.
Give that man a fluffy cat.