Kevin is back with more Grand Designs

Wednesday: Grand Designs - (Channel 4, 9pm)
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Although times are tough financially, it seems there’s still no shortage of people trying to create the homes of their dreams.

As a result, Kevin McCloud and the team behind Grand Designs haven’t had any trouble in finding folk willing to take part in the ever-popular show’s 22nd series.

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Perhaps, following the stresses and strains of recent years, those still lucky enough to have a few quid in their back pockets have decided to spend it on the most important purchase they’re ever likely to make – their own home.

“The most important piece of architecture any of us ever experience is the home we live in,” says McCloud. “If Grand Designs can do anything, it can at least raise the level of our awareness and especially our expectations of the quality of the buildings we live in.”

There’s also been a drive of late to renovate and refurbish rather than destroy, throw out and start afresh – the rise in popularity of craft competitions and The Repair Shop proves that. It could be said that breathing new life into a building is simply restoration on an epic scale.

It’s certainly something McCloud believes in: “I’m first and foremost a conservationist,” says Kevin. “I like to keep things.”

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Over the years, he’s witnessed people’s dreams fall flat, and is well-known for his deadpan, or even downbeat, way of delivering bad news to viewers. So is it a godsend when things turn awry? Does it add a little bit of spice and drama to the proceedings?

“You have projects that go wrong, and people think I like that, but I don’t because it makes an awful programme.”

Instead, he’s willing them to succeed: “You set sail, it’s their boat, and I travel along as an occasional passenger.”

What he doesn’t like, however, are people who are renovating for profit rather than pleasure, desire or need; he even has his own definition of the perfect Grand Designs participants: “They’re not professional, serial self-builders.

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“Filming people who are is dull, because they have the language off pat and it ends up more like a commercial project.”

In fact, Kevin feels that a lot of the best buildings he sees would never be started, never mind finished, if the participants knew what they were getting into, and the difficulties they could face along the way.

“It’s a kind of passionate self-belief. There’s a zeal about it that drives the project, and you need that if you’re going to complete it.

“And we, as programme-makers, brazenly feed off that!”

Whether there’ll be any disasters during the opening episode of the new run remains to be seen. It takes place in Manchester, where Colin and Adele have a whopping £700,000 with which to create an ambitious curved glass family home in the suburb in which they both grew up.

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The couple have employed a Swedish architect, an Italian interior design company and a Latvian building firm to help them turn their dream into a reality – here’s hoping they won’t need to demolish any language barriers on the road to success, or that seemingly healthy budget won’t go as far as they’d hoped.