The Renovation Game



Simon O'Brien or Jonnie Irwin


Presentable for Channel 4, 7 November 2011 to 28 September 2012 (50 episodes in 2 series)


The recession of the early 2010s brought problems for Channel 4's property programmes. No longer could they fill daytime with shows about buying a house somewhere exotic, about moving to the south of France or the west of Spain. After the collapse of the property bubble, make do and mend was the order of the day.

And so it was that a new challenge was set. Find some empty houses in states of disrepair, give teams of builders arbitrary constraints (3 days and a budget of £3000) to work on the house. Get estate agents to value the place before and after the work's done, and declare victory if the after figure exceeds the before by £15000. Should this target not be met, the team will not be paid for their labours. Cue 45 minutes of frantic work: chopping down bathrooms, drinking tea, putting in new bed fittings, drinking tea, plastering and wallpapering, and drinking tea, before the final reveal.

With an ever-changing crew (not just the builders, but even the host varies from day to day), it's difficult for the audience to bond with the workers on screen. With no owners to impress, the show lacks a huge emotional charge. At heart, this is Changing Rooms with a number attached, just enough to squeeze it into our definition of a game show.


A Mast Media format.

Theme music

Title music: Craig Brown and the Sound Works


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