Grand Designs

Rating 8.5
Streamer All4
Seasons 20
Episodes 199 x 60 mins

Kevin McCloud’s series has become a byword for building a dream home… and all that entails: overspends, horrific winters, windows that don’t fit, and a new baby born before the place is finished.

Like all the best buildings, Grand Designs is a reassuring feature of our lives and tucked away on All4 there are 182 episodes of reassurance, with a series 21 now airing. Even though Must has watched most of the old seasons already, we’re always happy to spend an evening watching this on catch-up because the series has aged remarkably well. That’s probably because the show has a simple formula: its starts with a blank canvas; intros a couple of ingenue self-builders, schedules moments of disaster and doubt, and concludes in a glorious reveal. Then everything is all wrapped-up with Kevin’s homely sign-offs. Of course at this ripe old age Grand Designs even has its own progeny, and of all the spin-offs our favourite has to be Grand Designs: House of the Year an annual celebration of a RIBA competition. 

Maybe we just need to turn to Los Angeles Times’ reviewer Meredith Blake who thinks that if you “long for a home show where the outcomes are less canned, the problems more catastrophic, the designs more ambitious” then Grand Designs is for you. Meredith headlines that this is the “best home design show in the world” calling it “train wreck TV meets real-estate porn, all wrapped up in a stylish coat. How could you resist?”

And it seems the latest instalment is equally irresistible, with The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson saying “The trick of this whole series, though, is that, despite yourself, you mostly end up…rooting for the person who has dared to take on such a task, who has dared to assume that they can do it quickly and relatively cheaply, and who might just, thanks to the absolute dedication of the workers they employ, pull it off.”

It seems, as The Telegraph’s Anita Singh puts it, “ambitious eccentricity and obscene wealth still makes a winning formula”

First shown April 1999. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here:

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