It might not be a new programme but I cannot go on watching May the Best House Win day after day without commenting on its excellence. Just made for nosy parkers like myself, ITV’s lunchtime show goes one better than Google Street View and let’s us snoop round strangers’ homes and rifle through their knicker drawers via the medium of television.
Every day four contestants compete to win £1000 and a chintzy certificate declaring their home to be the best based on the scores of the other three who tour round the house and judge the experience in terms of décor, style and hospitality.
It’s essentially the same kind of formula as Come Dine, House Guest and Four in a Bed but less about the food and the comfort of the spare room and more about the wallpaper, the dining chairs and the collection of novelty egg cups on the dresser. And really that’s far more interesting.
What amuses me are the people who enter. You’d be forgiven for thinking the homes we would see on the show would be the cream of the crop- large, immaculate and done up to within an inch of their lives. But not at all. The majority of them are just your average semi, a bit cluttered or a bit characterless and it’s a mystery why the homeowner seems so confident of winning. Their guests meanwhile turn their noses up at the hideous blinds or the shabby carpets before turning out to have the same or worse in their homes later on.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been some stunning houses in the series with some lovely period features, amazing views and impressive gadgets but these are fairly unusual. When they do come along they rarely win, being labelled as ‘just too rural,’ ‘just too showy,’ or ‘just not modern enough’ coming second to the nice beige terrace owned by the lady who made the delicious sausage rolls. The winning house usually includes some form of decorative balls arranged in a bowl too, a May the Best House Win phenomenon I’ve never noticed anywhere else.
The most interesting homes are owned by the nutters, however. There is usually one good nutter every couple of days at least. The ones which stand out in my mind are a chap who only wore yellow and whose house was sunshine yellow inside and out, a guy whose coffee table was made from a stuffed crocodile and whose whole basement had been turned into a massive aquarium and a man who’d transformed his home into something out of wartime England, hiding his modern appliances behind pieces of material to pretend they weren’t there.
It’s a fun show, worth a look if you want something to watch while your lunch goes down and you like a gander at other people’s stuff. There’s always bitching, there’s usually a competition to see how many guests can fit into the bath and the best house rarely wins but it’s always a laugh!