Adrian and Neil Rayment (Handy Hunks: Better Homes)
Kim Wilde (Better Gardens)
Granada for ITV, 4 January 1999 to 1 July 2003 (53 episodes in 6 series + 2 specials)
as Better Gardens, 6 January to 13 February 2000 (8 episodes in 1 series)
Game shows are so un-Karl Marx, aren't they?
Consider this - two houses get done up for television and the one that puts on the most value after the renovation wins the owners an additional £5000 (or, in the latest series, a family holiday). So that's a done up house, a more expensive house and £5000, all for taking part in a game show.
The totalitarian regime of Carol 'Ubiquitous' Vorderman oversees ITV's very own version of Changing Rooms but without the obvious personalities and eccentricities of the BBC's designers this show, for us at least, lacks appeal.
I mean, it's some people doing up a pair of houses. Why do you people watch this? There's little of the hilarity of the owners not actually liking their new rooms as occasionally happens when Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is let loose in Changing Rooms and it just seems far less watchable.
In addition, the point of having a winner is completely... pointless, particularly as the families do next to nothing to influence the outcome (how quickly people forget The National Lottery Big Ticket).
Of course, we don't like the show and yet it's one of ITV's most popular. Sigh. Pass the gin.
Well, we suppose it was a natural follow-on to 'do' a garden version of the show.
The format's pretty much the same. The only real embellishment is the addition of 80s pop siren Kim Wilde who, it turns out, is a bit of a dab hand at getting her hands deep in compost. Not sure whether the "kids in America" will appreciate that very much.
Move along now, nothing to see here.
They insisted on playing short bursts of the hardly-catchy theme music every five seconds!
Carol's "Handy Hunks" Adrian and Neil Rayment went on to become mega-famous as the twins in two parts of The Matrix trilogy. If that's not a shift up the career ladder, we don't know what is.
ITV's Better Homes website from August 2003, via the Internet Archive.