Thursday, July 13

Beeny's World

She may look like she's smuggled one or two of Gordon Ramsey's pies but Sarah Beeny is the best thing in TV home improvement, says Helen Parton

The UK, it seems, has an insatiable appetite for home owning related TV. Shows like Property Ladder (8pm Channel 4) chug along happily year after year, without really offering anything entirely new. You know the score by now then: guessing whether Sarah Beeny: lovably crap hair and looking a bit lumpy and bumpy – is pregnant or has she just thought fuck it, I’ll never be as thin as Naomi Cleaver, I’ll just wear a big coat like Kirsty Allsopp and eat bacon sarnies like a builder. Answer this series: pregnant.

The wannabe property developers of Property Ladder never tire of not listening to the sensible Beeny and instead plumping for ludicrous domestic arrangements like having the en suite on the roof/kitchen in the attic etc. One woman in last night’s episode wanted to have some kind of trompe l’oeil double garage doors without there being room to park a microscooter in the space, another opted for hideous neo classical tile reliefs and horrid lavender paintwork.

Alas, as nearly always happens, we were denied our twopenneth of schadenfreuderism, and the two projects made a profit. Unlike Cruella de Cleaver, Beeny does seem genuinely pleased after all that her protégées have succeeded despite not heeding her advice and we love her for it too. Just sort out that barnet Sarah and for God’s sake don’t go back to that curly mop or badger stripe highlights you had a few years ago.

All this mortgage obsessional TV must seem madness to our apartement dwelling friends across the Channel, happily renting until the end of their days. What can they find to fill their schedules with instead – 100 Greatest Celebrity Shrugs? Competitive Gauloise Smoking Live? Well, according to the man from L’Equipe on Channel 4 News (Channel 4, 7pm) the French like nothing better than to sit down religiously to watch the news en famille at 8pm prompt. Not last night though, they were gripped by the sight of Zinedine Zidane’s Gallic mumblings on Canal +’s exclusive interview, which shed as much light on what made him headbutt the Italian player in the World Cup Final as a torch with a dodgy battery. He doesn’t regrette rien is all he seemed to say.

I suspect the French might be partial to a bit of the F Word (Channel 4, 9pm) though – maybe we should have tried exporting that instead of lamb all those years ago. A shame they’ve got rid of monkey boy Giles Coren as I wouldn’t have minded seeing him in a crate on fire surrounded by angry farmers in Calais. It’s all tasty offerings – Dermot O’Leary identifying which bollocks came from which beast, Gordon Ramsay threatening to pull the bollocks off some Bolton blokes and Janet Street Porter going on as if she had a mouthful of ‘em. Bon Appetit!

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