Interior Design Masters ‘do up’ Oxford homes

We’ve already got The Great British Bake Off, The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down.
Michelle Ogundehin and Alan CarrMichelle Ogundehin and Alan Carr
Michelle Ogundehin and Alan Carr

We used to have The Great Interior Design Challenge as well. It ran for four series in the mid-2010s, was hosted by architecture expert Tom Dyckhoff and put amateur decor experts through their paces, tasking them with transforming rooms in a variety of different buildings.

As with other programmes in the ‘great’ series, each week one competitor was booted off, until the best two competed in the final. The show’s major success story is Sarah Moore, winner of season one, who now fronts her own daytime TV series, Money For Nothing, in which she transforms unwanted items destined for the rubbish dump, then sells them on and gives the profit to the original owner.

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It disappeared from our screens in 2017, but two years later, the Beeb launched Interior Design Masters – and despite changing the name, its host and judges, it was almost impossible to tell the two shows apart.

In 2019, Fearne Cotton took charge of the proceedings, with judge Michelle Ogundehin – the former editor-in-chief of Elle Decoration – joined each week by a guest to offer their opinions on each designer’s work before sending home the one they felt was the weakest.

Now the programme is back for its second run, but Cotton has bowed out to be replaced by Alan Carr. Perhaps the producers have enjoyed Joe Lycett’s appearances on Sewing Bee and felt that another comedian would help liven things up a little – if there’s one criticism that could be levelled at the show, it’s that it can verge on being a little too serious and pretentious at times.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be welcoming the wonderful Alan Carr to the Interior Design Masters fold,” remarks Donna Clark, managing director of production company DSP. “His wit and enthusiasm will definitely bring a dose of sparkle to the series and we can’t wait to see him take the helm.”

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“I just can’t wait to get started on this,” adds Carr. “I’m such a huge fan of interior design and I’m chomping at the bit to see what these wonderfully creative people have in store for us.”

The latest run lasts eight weeks and will see the competitors work alone or as part of a team while trying to hit tight deadlines and manage a project from its inception to completion.

The first episode sees them paired up to tackle a challenge involving the transformation of luxury show homes in Oxford. The finished result shouldn’t be bland, but neither should it be so lavish and idiosyncratic that it puts off potential buyers. Carr follows them every step of the way as they attempt to spend their £1,500 budget wisely and utilise the skills of two tradesmen on hand to help with the fixtures and fittings.

Once completed, Ogundehin and her guest, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, deliver their verdicts.

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