Viewers of a DIY makeover show were left a little bemused last night as they watched the transformation of a house occupied by a normal healthy family. John Thompson, 49, and his wife Debra and two children were the lucky recipients of some fairly costly renovations to their 'tired-looking' home.
"The producers asked me on arrival if I'd lost a child recently or if any of them were terminally ill, or disabled, or had Down Syndrome, spina bifida, meningitis, leukemia, eating disorders, a colostomy bag or were being bullied or just ugly. My boy had tonsilitis a few years back but other than that everyone is fine," said John.
More questions were to follow such as was he going through a messy divorce or was she planning to leave him or was he going to split from her? Were his grandparents still alive? Had any relative died or got ill recently? Had they lost a family pet like a dog, cat, rabbit, budgie or goldfish? Was he recently made redundant or did some cowboy workers let him down?
"None of those things applied to me. To be honest, I really only applied because I'm lazy and wanted to save money and get on TV."
The job went ahead anyway despite the lack of tragedy and heartbreaking undercurrent of sadness. One week later they had done every room in the house. The presenter wasn't sure if they'd finish it on time but after a few clips of people rushing around it was completed. They future-proofed the house by making it wheelchair accessible and put in a lift just in case any of the family became a paraplegic, lost a limb or went blind. That made the crew all emotional. Even the team who come in of an evening when the filming stops were emotional.
"The presenter kept asking me on camera what it would mean to me and my family having this work done and how I felt? I said I felt absolutely great. They were doing a shedload of work and it was costing me nothing. There were some tears for sure.....of pure joy."
Everyone was delighted with the reveal. The daughter gave it '11 out of 10' and the son loved his rubber floor because no one else in Britain would have one in their bedroom. Mum, Debra, was delighted with the kitchen.
"There was a kitchen here when we moved in but we replaced that with a quality one. Now they've replaced that with an even more expensive one but apparently that's 'on trend'. It's not a problem when someone else is paying for it and we did buy the washers for the taps ourselves, so we did our bit."
Mr. Thompson was equally enthusiastic about the transformation.
"I can easily see why people fall in love with one coat of paint hastily put on top of wet plaster."
He has recently applied to another show to have his garden done by Britain's favourite gardener but they want two doctors notes to confirm a family illness and a copy of the death certificate where necessary.