Build A New Life In The Country Review: Home, Sheep, Home

June 15, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


BUILD A NEW LIFE IN THE COUNTRY, Monday 15th June, Five, 9.00pm Alert Me

Ah the fairytale of the home build show.

Two star crossed lovers, united in their architecture hobby, take on a wreck of a building and hope to transform it into Disney castle, without veering into Jordan’s blancmange pink, wedding-dress-explosion territory.

Add a sprinkle of drama – will they stick to the budget? Will their love survive? Will we just turn over to watch another re-run of Friends? Yes, probably. Still the overall product manages to create a sense of malaise comparable only to any show that features Myleene Klass. Licking windows. In a brown paper bag.

I want my dream house as much as the next childlike dreamer, but my idea of quality design is a far cry from Becky and Ian Shevling’s mishmash of country barn and a John Lewis-sponsored chrome overload.

I also balk at the idea of watching a programme where a couple flaunt their expensive chateau full in the face of the cash-strapped viewing public. “Look at us,” they gloat. “We’ve just gone £60,000 over budget! Oops!” Gimme a break. We’re in a recession, have some god damn compassion.

On top of it all, the couple plan to set up their own vineyard, in Yorkshire, with no experience whatsoever. And they have the audacity to get antsy when the Council doesn’t give them planning permission for a winery. Come on people! Just because you’ve managed to buy everything else you could have ever possibly want or need (with the exception of new teeth, in Ian’s case), doesn’t mean that you can buy your way into the Council’s good books. That’s life, deal with it. The fact that you haven’t been thrown in the looney bin should be enough of a blessing.

Ok, ok so I’m being a bit harsh, but seriously, this is not top quality programming. I’ve seen Cillit Bang adverts that I’ve enjoyed more than this show, and I hate shouty Barry George.

The one positive thing I would say is that the couple are incredibly hard working, and contribute to the project every step of the way, rather than letting the labourers pick up the slack. The Shevling’s set themselves a deadline for when the house needs to be finished, and they stick to it, come kitchen-threatening-floods or shine. It’s just that their sickening puppy love is so excruciatingly pukeworthy that I feel like my retinas must be shielded from their glow. It burns, I tell you, it burns!

Another saving grace is it’s presenter, Charlie Luxton, who is on hand to provide advice, support, and bicep power. Luxton swoops in like Superman without the mis-placed pants, and is incredibly genuine in his championing of the couple’s project. He tells them that they are mental and leaves them to it. Miraculously, it all works out for the best.

Mr Luxton has a gift, and should be given a new show in which to showcase it. Take heed Channel Five, before the other channels nab him.

Sally McIlhone