Bit of a re-work after consideration
The state of the UK economy has dictated a re-think of Channel 4's flagship property programme 'Relocation, Relocation', which becomes 'Repossession, Reposession', in 2012. There had been numerous complaints about the language in Relocation and Ofcom has banned the new programme from using 'Grand', 'property ladder', 'smart money' and 'pad', along with its derivative 'crashpad'. In the first episode, Quentin and Isabel relocate from their trendy Greenwich Village Mansion House to a squat overlooking the Heston Services. 'Who will be in the next episode?' is the question C4 schedulers are hoping the audience will be asking.
Kirstie Allsop and Phil Spencer have fronted C4's property brand since it was launched as 'Location, Location, Location'. That first version was based on a simple concept where people too stupid or self-important to drive, read a local paper or visit an estate agent, were helped to find a home to buy. Its subsequrnt 'Relocation' incarnation was more aspirational, says show producer Jane Hatch. "Smug self-satisfied people, who accidentally stumbled into comparative wealth merely by owning a studio flat in London or the Home Counties, were able to cash-in on soaring local prices."
"Relocation's brilliance lay in its central theme," recalls Hatch "we'd realised Location buyers often faced a choice between (a) somewhere nice in the country or (b) an even smaller base in London and then pissing the profit up the wall at a wine bar. What our Location subjects really wanted, of course, was both; Relocation gave them that option."
However, when the UK recession struck, Relocation was increasingly seen as out of touch. Viewers in negative equity had little or no sympathy with 'Piers, an IT consultant and Tabitha, an Aromatherapist' in a panic attack when choosing between a 16th Century barn conversion with paddock and a brand-new Huf Haus with panoramic views over Lake Windermere.
"We picked up on the change of public mood and Repossession will be taking a decidedly 'schadenfreude approach' as we follow people sliding down the property snake instead." says Hatch. "There really is nothing like it when you're feeling a bit strapped for cash yourself. We filmed a couple in September who had to sell a 6 bed Victorian vicarage and a 'bolthole' apartment on the Algarve. All they could get, after the dust settled, was a timeshare on a bench just north of London. We nearly wet ourselves laughing. Still, it did have good transport links. Under the priority flightpath for Heathrow, 200 yards from Junction 20 of the M.25 and spitting distance from Watford Train Station."
Intriguingly, in this celebrity obsessed culture, production company insiders reports a decreasing number of people prepared to prostitute themselves on tacky TV property shows in exchange for some cheap publicity and transient fame. "Except Allsop of course, you can't beat her off the screen with a large stick" said an anonymous source, a Mr P Spencer, "and believe me I've tried."
Hat tip Immunis