ann maurice – interior rivalry 2 (1/8) 20.00–21.00
Ann Maurice, the no-nonsense House Doctor with the flair to make any room shine, is once more on the hunt for Britain’s best home-stager. With a prize worth more than £50,000 at stake, Ann has no time for half-heartedness. Assisting her on her search are interior-design expert Gordon Whistance, while business tycoon Duncan Bannatyne lends his expertise later in the series.
In this first programme we meet the 12 lucky finalists who have been selected from the initial applicants. Ann divides them into teams of four and each team have 22 hours and just £450 to make over a living room. Every room has its own distinct challenges, and Ann and Gordon have a clear idea of what type of changes they expect.
Team one, who will be tackling a room in Willesden, are operations manager Liza, PA Dani, teacher Jayne and artist Rolf. Even before their room has been cleared of its old-fashioned grey suite and other furniture, the team’s three alpha females are clashing over matters of taste. Liza and Jayne in particular do not see eye to eye. “I wish she’d shut her big gob for five minutes and let someone else get a word in edgeways,” says Jayne. What the whole team does agree on is that they cannot afford to replace both the dated suite and the ugly carpet. They reluctantly opt to keep the suite, so will have to rely on a clever layout to make the best use of their space.
The next room, in Wood Green, is taken on by team two: decorator Neal, team manager Rachel, car-body technician Trudy and flight attendant Joe. The problems at this house are posed by two long, thin adjoining rooms whose respective purposes are not defined, and large furniture that swamps the space. The team quickly recognises these issues, but agreeing on solutions is not so easy. Strong character Rachel cheerfully admits that her strident manner can wind people up, and teammate Neal is annoyed that she seems to want to take control. She, in turn, feels that their chances of success are jeopardised by bitchiness within the team.
Team three, who are working on a room in Haringey, are radio presenter Bill, marketing consultant Jennifer, hairdresser Nigel and interiordesign student Kate. Their living room seems to have the most potential of the three, with high ceilings and attractive period windows. Another potential bonus is that team member Kate has experience of styling show homes. On the downside, they must contend with an ugly gas fire and some unwanted guests –cockroaches.
After many hours of decision-making, manual labour, shopping and arguing, it’s time to down tools and prepare for the final judgment by Ann and Gordon. The pair don’t pull their punches. First stop is House A. Ann says the white walls are too cold and the room “looks like an advertisement in a paint catalogue” –lacking the sense of homeliness that is crucial when selling a property. Gordon is equally critical, dismissing the room as “too glacial”.
In House B, team two have successfully created a defined dining area and introduced smaller furniture. But Ann and Gordon agree that the sofa has been put in the wrong place, making the room’s main ‘problem’ –its corridor-like dimensions –even more apparent than before. Gordon believes that the scheme shows little consideration for the space in question, while Ann is unsettled by their colour choices.
House C is also a disappointment to the two experts. “The placement of objects could be better,” says Gordon, while Ann remarks that they had the easiest room of the three, yet failed to tackle the single biggest challenge –disguising the ugly gas fire. When put on the spot by Ann, Bill – who also took part in the first series of Interior Rivalry –admits that he was probably the worst performing team member in this task. “I didn’t push my case as hard as the others,” he says. “Maybe I’m not the man for you.” Has his modesty endeared him to the judges or will he be one of two contestants to be ruthlessly eliminated this week?