Nick Knowles’ Original Features
Monday 11th March, 10pm on Home
And, lo, it was writ that Nick Knowles shall be the irritating face and voice of irritating property shows forever. The only reprieve from these shows is death, and it is an option worthy of weighted consideration. But, Nick Knowles’ Original Features is now in its third series, so someone must be watching it.
For the uninitiated, it’s an odd, incongruous mashup of Grand Designs and Time Team, no doubt the result of a frantic, last minute pitch meeting attended by people who should never be allowed to work in TV again. In it, your average pair of property show dullards take on a hefty renovation project while Knowles half-heartedly dicks about attempting to trace the property’s past, for absolutely no reason at all. He does this, incidentally, while getting in the way of any actual work taking place, which manages to be both annoying and pube-pluckingly boring at the same time.
This week we’re introduced to Tim and Melissa, who’ve bought a thatch-roofed shithole in the marvellously-named village of Ragged Appleshore. And, you know, they seem fine, Tim and Melissa, sort of, in a glad-they’re-not-my-mates-but-don’t-actually-wish-they-were-dead sort of way. Tim’s a carpenter, and he’s chosen the two months before Christmas to gut the house, promising his wife they’ll be reading in bed in silence again before Santa comes-a-calling. In the meantime, she’s in the caravan in the garden with the couple’s young daughter. In winter! Ha! They’ll freeze! Nice one Tim. The single best thing about this entire programme is the sense that he genuinely hates his family and has found a way to kill them that’s legally untraceable back to him.
The tight timescale only gives Knowles two months to get a cod-historian round to look at the beams before he does two godawful pieces to camera announcing his findings: namely, that the house is a tiny bit older that Tim and Mel thought, and used to be a single storey, which they already knew. Spellbinding. Even Knowles sounds bored, like the show’s some kind of community service and he’s simply biding his time until he can make a dash for the cameraman’s Astra and – then – Mexico.
The rest of this increasingly pointless stack of property show offal is either filled with Knowles ‘sending’ (i.e. a researcher sending) the couple on gainless excursions to old houses to peer at shit curtains or butterfly hinges, halting work as the clock ticks forever closer to the Christmas they’ll refer to forever more as ‘that time we realised we hated each other and split up’. The strain this timewasting puts on their marriage would be priceless were it not so incalculably dull.
So, in the end, the house doesn’t get finished on time, and even two months later looks like somewhere an unambitious tramp would go to die. We’re left wondering why we’ve wasted an hour watching nothing happen at all and, yet, still getting irritated by it. In fact, the show’s only saving grace is the un-ironic use of the phrase ‘mouldy old thatch’. And that really is it.