TV Land is full of double acts. We’ve had Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies and Morse and Lewis – but one popular pair are still going strong; the undisputed King and Queen of Property Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsop.
True, they probably won’t be as fondly remembered in years to come as Eric and Ernie, but in their own special way our house-hunting pair have certainly made their mark.
It is hard to believe but Location Location Location is now in its 17th series, and since the show made its debut at the turn of the millennium, Phil and Kirstie have helped scores of people look around literally hundreds of homes – from poky bedsits to sprawling mansions.
And while making improvements are firmly on the mind of most house-hunters, Channel 4 bosses are obviously happy to go by the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, sticking to a tried and tested formula which has served them pretty well over the last 12 years.
Last night’s episode was one of the cheap “catch up” shows which seem to be thrown randomly into every new series as we met up once more with two couples who had “high expectations and long wishlists” and had enlisted Phil and Kirstie to help them find them their dream homes.
Back in 2007, a few months before the country – and the property market – went belly up, Amy and Takie were desperate to get out of the rental game and buy their first home in London. But as they had decided to pay off their student loans instead of stumping up for a deposit, they had been forced to put their dream on hold until they could save enough money – £250,000 to be precise – to make buying really worthwhile.
Meanwhile, in Wiltshire in 2010 Vicky and Andy were trying to combine their search for a home from which they could run not one but two businesses and house between one and four young children – all on a budget of £400,000.
As usual, the first properties that both couples are introduced to seems to tick all the boxes, but fails to meet their high (or should that be wholly unrealistic) expectations – especially the low ceilings which threatened to give Vicky a headache in more ways than one.
Indeed, if you haven’t got an hour to spare, you may as well fast forward to the second or third part of the programme if you want to see a property that is going to stand any chance of being picked by the house hunters.
Otherwise, just enjoy the chance to look around other people’s houses from the comfort of your own sofa.
And so it was that Amy and Takie were introduced to flats in Hammersmith – at least it would be a flat once it was built – and Parson’s Green which fitted the bill perfectly, only to lose out on both when it came to the crunch.
There was bad news for Vicky and Andy, too, who eventually came to realise that they were unable to compromise enough to get a home which ticked all the boxes.
In the end, all Phil and Kirstie managed to do was open both couples’ eyes to the possibilities (in fact, it is very rare that a property picked by the couple is actually bought by the people they are helping).
Fast forward to 2012 and the economic downturn had forced Vicky and Andy to scale back their business ambitions, and therefore their requirements, while Amy and Takie’s decision to buy a two-bedroomed flat in Kensington had paid dividends with the London property bubble actually increasing its value by £80,000 – proving it really is all about the Location Location Location.