After 23 years and almost 400 episodes, Location Location Location is back for its 40th series

Wednesday: Location Location Location (C4, 8pm)
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Channel 4’s flagship property show launched in the year 2000, a time of Britpop, New Labour and £80,000 average house prices.

Much has changed since then, societally, economically and politically – yet Location, Location, Location has rolled atop every turbulent wave, remaining relevant throughout.

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Now, after 23 years and almost 400 episodes, the show enters its 40th series.

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil SpencerKirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer

The housing market recently has been racing, as a post-lockdown boom pushed house prices higher than ever, before a series of sharp interest rate hikes made mortgages more expensive, throttling demand and causing the market to slow.

Even so, fewer people today are in a position to buy a house than was the case in 2000, with house prices only arresting because mortgages themselves are less affordable – meanwhile the deposits required to buy now represent a much higher proportion of people’s incomes.

Yet rents are also spiralling, meaning if you can afford to buy it’s arguably more important to do so than ever. So, to say that the landscape of home-ownership is changeable is an understatement. But if anyone knows the lay of these perpetually shifting sands it’s our hosts, Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer.

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In this opening episode of the series, the pair are in Devon to help Natalie and Glen, who feel as though they have been priced out of their popular local market, and single mum Amy, who is looking for a seaside idyll for her and her two young children.

Kirstie is on the side of Natalie and Glen, Torquay natives who have been giving it their best shot, but after some 30 viewings they’re struggling to find a suitable yet affordable home for them and their 10-year-old son, Barnaby.

The first house Kirstie shows them blows them away, but it’s at the very top of their budget and other potential buyers are queueing up, so they need to be bold if they want to secure it before someone snatches it out from under them.

Phil, meanwhile, has some ideas for Amy, who is moving from Somerset to Exmouth. Amy has worked in social services before going on to develop an app designed to help frontline mental health workers.

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The app was a hit and made her a successful entrepreneur, but even a healthy budget of up to £1million isn’t quite cutting it in her own search for a seaside property around Devon.

Phil shows her four very different houses, all of which hit Amy’s criteria in different ways. However, when a previously “loved and lost” property suddenly comes back into the picture, a nail-biting climax to Amy’s search ensues.

It all makes buying a home seem like an awful lot of work, not to mention the stress… But worry not, Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs is showing straight afterwards on Channel 4 – after which buying, as opposed to building, a home will seem like a walk in the park!