1 9 9 7 – 2 0 0 3 (UK)
With a time-limit of two days and a budget of just £500, two sets of neighbours or friends attempted to improve a room in each other’s home in this surprisingly successful series.
Given the help of a professional designer (Graham Wynne, Michael Jewitt, Laura McCree and, more notably, Linda Barker, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson) and the assistance of crafty carpenter ‘Handy Andy’ Kane, they set about transforming the look of one of their friends’ rooms.
The series inspired viewing DIYers but was also panned for some of its over-the-top designs, quick fixes, ubiquitous MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard – an engineered wood product) and cheapo decorations.
At the end of each show, the friends/neighbours were taken back into their own homes and shown the results – often to delight, but occasionally to heartbreak.
Carol Smillie introduced the programme and reported on progress throughout.
Beginning modestly on BBC2 but transferring to BBC1 after two years, Changing Rooms was one of the first of a new tranche of lifestyle/DIY programmes – Home Front, All Mod Cons, Change That etc – that had viewers queuing outside B&Q on a Sunday morning.
The series merged with a sister programme for a special in 2000, entitled When Changing Rooms Met Ground Force, in which interior decorating and gardening specialists switched jobs.
Anna Ryder Richardson
‘Handy’ Andy Kane