Thursday, November 18

Review: Sarah Beeny's Restoration Nightmare

Sarah Beeny's latest show is so interminably self-indulgent it is practically perverted, says Mark Lewis

A mix up at Channel 4 would have
made the show more tolerable
It is hard to conceive of a programme more tedious than a Sarah Beeny-presented hour-long show about restoring Sarah Beeny’s own 97-bedroom stately home in East Yorkshire. But Sarah Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare (Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm) manages it by being the first of a three part series about restoring Sarah Beeny’s own home presented by Beeny and her even more dreadful husband, Graham.

‘The Queen of TV restorations’ is going to have eat her own medicine or somesuch, we are told. It is the equivalent of Gillian McKeith poking through her own shit, disturbing an insect, contracting Malaria, then getting a course of fake antibiotics from a bogus GP. Only a lot less fun. It’s difficult to imagine the agony of having to project-manage an East Yorkshire, stately home restoration from a second home in West London. But somehow Sarah and Graham are going to have to push through the pain. (It puts the cuts in benefits to alcoholic, disabled, Glaswegians into proper perspective.)

And that is just one element of the torture. They also have to deal with a film crew hanging around to take whimsical shots of them standing by their new lake, and three hours’ worth of a voiceover man saying ad infinitum that Sarah Beeny has got a big, crumbly, stately home which needs restoring cheaply, and in just six months. The irony of filming Sarah and Graham choosing sinks for five minutes before yawning and complaining to each other that choosing sinks is “so boring,” is evidently lost on the pair.

They are like Jeeves and Wooster, without Jeeves. Or any humour. So removed are they from the misery of every day British life that George Osborne fancies them a little aloof. Sarah’s brother, Dicken, is actually married to Graham’s sister, Dickette. Even the Royal Family can’t manage that level of gene management anymore.

And the whole time we have to keep swallowing this clock-ticking conceit, without the voiceover man even once shouting, “you’ve had the house for ten years, you stupid posh bint. Why the fuck do you need to get it finished in the next six months?” It is like Sixty Minute Makeover for nobs called Dicken from Notting Hill.

It would take a heart of stone not to want them to fail. But the existence of this programme, makes the possibility vanishingly remote. Despite the six-month deadline, you know that Graham’s lifelong dream of being just a little wealthier is going to come true.

“Graham has dreams and I make them happen,” says Beeny at one point. “It’s a dangerous partnership.” With a show as interminable as this one it is impossible not to ponder just how far this dangerous partnership of dream-making bastardry goes. It usually ends with Graham’s mouth being too muffled to utter the safety word, and dying with a noose around his neck Caradine-style in a locked cupboard full of oranges and old roof tiles.

But even that wouldn’t be worth watching the next two episodes for.


Sarah Beeny's nightmare? said...

I was looking forward to seeing Restoration Nightmare for the first time this week and now I'm not so sure.

Anonymous said...

Saw it. Horrendous couple.

tony roma said...


moaning toffs bite off more than they can chew.
so the tired c4 bbc format goes.
when will we get less will the won't they finish will they loose the property will they have to sell.
and more sobbing shots of a pile of rubble with dick deekin the toff brother saying cripes and golly suppose you better move back too notting hill.
these meatheads will not be moving to hull.
this is a holiday home and a wedding venue business with the bastards at c4 giving free pr.

Anonymous said...

You are just jealous - they work their socks off and have not moaned. At least they are saving the house whereas it would have been reduced to a pile of rubble - I suppose you would like that to happen with the sort of attitude you have....