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TV

Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It review: Ridiculously ambitious

Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It must be one of the most ambitious home shows Channel 4 has in its schedule, writes Lucy Sweet

Being trapped in the house for a year can do strange things to a person. I’m not quite getting to the point of writing a tally of the days on the kitchen wall in my own blood – but I’ve got that pencilled in for March. You’ve got to have something to look forward to, don’t you? 

At the moment, we’re all suspended until further notice, stranded at the depot, gathering dust. Going outside for a takeaway coffee feels like an invite to Beyoncé’s 40th. The other day I even felt a strange rush when I was in the Co-op, because AT LEAST I WASN’T AT HOME. 

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When I’m at home, though, I get frequent itchy urges to change it. Raze it to the ground! Throw everything out! But then I realise that this is just a pandemic symptom that’s not on the official list, and anyway, all the charity shops are shut, I can’t do DIY and nobody is allowed in the house. Then the apathy hits, the snacks come out and I watch Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It

I’ve found myself glued to it. I think it’s because it contains possibilities that we can currently only dream of.

Aside from Grand Designs – which requires you to be a delusional middle-aged man with a pregnant wife who doesn’t mind living in a caravan for five years while you erect a tedious monument to your toxic masculinity in a field in West Sussex – Love It or List It must be one of the most ambitious home shows C4 has in its schedule. To get on it you need a budget of about £50,000 and slavish faith in the architectural skills of Kirstie Allsopp, a woman who thinks that putting homemade pom-poms on a mop bucket qualifies you to be an artisan. 

Here’s how it usually goes: a couple has a desirable and spacious home that most of us would chew our leg off to own. One of them likes it, one of them hates it. Kirstie bustles in sporting her Boden crossover dresses and ‘let’s get Brexit done’ attitude, and draws up grand plans to knock through walls and renovate it. 

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Meanwhile, rubbery Phil hangs about in the background and shows them alternative properties that are either unsuitable or beyond their budget.

When the work is completed, they must decide whether they want to stay or move. Usually they buy another massive, well-appointed house that Phil hasn’t shown them, and you sit there with crisps all over your face wondering what people on these shows do for a living and how they can afford it all. 

Anyway, recently I’ve found myself glued to it. I think it’s because it contains possibilities that we can currently only dream of. But until Kirstie and Phil return with a brand new show called Go to Bed or Stay on the Sofa, it looks like it’ll have to do.

Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It is on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 8pm and on All4

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