Kirstie’s Homemade Home Review

KIRSTIE’S HOMEMADE HOME: Tuesday 2nd November, Channel 4, 8pm ALERT ME

You can’t move for home improvement programmes on the box these days. In both the cultural outposts of daytime television and the prestigious primetime slots, the genre has claimed a massive chunk of the schoolnight schedule. How has this happened? Through flexibility and the promise of valuable home-owner knowledge folks. From Cowboy Builders to Grand Designs, the spectrum of possibilities is almost limitless, and an upbeat Kirstie’s Homemade Home is a worthy addition to a heaving back catalogue, it may be much lighter than some of its contemporaries, but it’s cosier than an open fire and a mug of cocoa.

It may sound rather arbitrary, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same without the bright and cheery Kirstie Allsopp. In this first episode of her new series, she is heading to Wolverhampton to help a family who want to furnish their rather shabby Victorian crib without breaking the budget. “There’s nothing that doesn’t need doing to this place!” says Kirstie as she demonstrates what can be achieved with a little initiative and a trip to the local antiques fair. Later on she’s helping the couple make their own curtains (there are classes up and down the country if you fancy saving a few quid) and advising us to “seek out our local blacksmith..” for all our metallic needs. It’s easy to be a bit cynical, but when you see just how much money she saves the family on a fireplace from a ‘architectural salvage yard’, a bit of scouting around doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

By the time Kirstie announces that she will be taking a crochet class in response to overwhelming demand from her viewers, her fans will have remembered how inherently loavble she is. Allsopp’s defining characteristic is her cheerful demeanour and that is well-reflected in everything about the show, from the bright soundtrack to the excellent results she achieves for the family by the end. It’s genuinely uplifting to see a home improvement programme which doesn’t feature a family pushed to the brink by some bastard cowboy…