Give Ps a chance

As if we didn’t have enough watching to fit in anyway, more turned up a few weeks ago. I was most excited about The Great Interior Design Challenge, but for some reason it paled after watching just once and we couldn’t muster the stamina to return to it. I do like the interesting houses they find for the keen interior design hopefuls to ruin and to obsess over, but it suddenly hit me that specialist Daniel Hopwood is merely a hairdresser who does homes instead of heads. On television.

But Michael Portillo on the Great American Railroad Journeys has been fun. OK, so he took several days [programmes] to even leave New York, but among the sightseeing there’s enough trains and tracks and station buildings to satisfy. Who’d have thought all those years ago that we’d willingly watch this Conservative politician travelling the world by train? (I think we have had a personality shift here; Portillo was of the ‘wrong’ political persuasion, but he’s a normal human being. His successors are something else entirely and will never get anywhere by train.)

Jeremy Paxman’s University Challenge is a programme you don’t have to watch every week. It’s fun enough to dip into if you have a spare half hour, if only for his marvellous rudeness towards the contestants. I do find though, that I can’t even begin to hope to answer more than a question every now and then. Correctly, I mean.

And then we have the lovely Piers [Taylor]; the architect who helps people in dire homes and with little money to do something spectacular to their houses. I’m interested to see that they dropped the presenter from the first series, letting Piers present as well as architect his way around. The fact that he has architect helpers now, proves that his is not a lone voice in a design desert. I was actively invigorated when the charming Sikh architect went out of his way to help ‘his’ home owners reuse stuff and to buy the cheapest, and occasionally unexpected, materials. I will have the wetroom I want, rather than the wetroom the shops want me to have. He said something rude about tiles being common. I love him!

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