What to make of Kirstie Allsopp? The valkyrie of vacant possession, a strident, snorting hockey captain who, along with that fey bald bloke, made homes into game shows. I swing from feelings of embarrassed fondness to pillow-biting fury. Sometimes, I think she’s a bit of a lumpy treasure; at others, that she should be hanging from her own curtain tassels. Almost all the girls I’ve known all my life have been more or less like Kirstie. In a blaze of intimate self-publicity, she leapt from the sinking property market, abandoning the leftover bald bloke, and bought a derelict house in Devon, which she is doing up on a frayed, genteel shoestring, to show the rest of us how to have a cosy, tasteful recession.
The wondering about Kirstie is over. She has become a bosomy Wodehousian monster. Who on earth commissioned this format, of a middle-class, strident, plummy wife of a property millionaire, speculating on a £300,000 second home, who goes on to tell the mortgage-strapped, indebted, fearful workers that what they really ought to be doing is finding local artisans, throwing their own pots, blowing their own glasses, knitting their own toilet paper and going through the skips of their betters to make lovely, lovely, cosy, cosy, get-together light supper areas?
Kirstie’s Homemade Home is such a monstrously patronising piece of class-bound, lady-bountiful do-goodery that it would beggar Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield to come up with a more cynical satire. Kirstie has crossed the threshold to become one of television’s undead. She now believes that what she has to say is important, that it’s real, instead of being simply light entertainment. We can only hope she finds some darling, ever so clever little local ropemonger. What’s truly disappointing, but I suppose unsurprising, is that she has such class-bound, predictable taste. It looks like the Princess Diana memorial holiday home — what’s technically known as late-1990s naff.