What is it about “lifestyle” programmes that distance them from how most of us live? The first to take root was the gardening species. Programmes ranged from the acceptably couthy Beechgrove Garden, to more exotic varieties, often hosted by the pesticide-resistant Alan Titchmarsh.

Then, along came the pretentious cookery shows, with their smorgasbord of interchangeable celebrity chefs. Celebrities in their own minds and kitchens. Cookery is no longer flavour of the month, having been superseded by umpteen variations on the property theme. These aren’t exactly newbies. Location, Location, Location for example, has been around for over 20 years. They have however, spread like Japanese knotweed, infiltrating and strangling viewing schedules.

There’s no mystery why production companies are keen on lifestyle programming. They’re cheap to make and can be repeated ad infinitum. We’re never quite sure if we’ve already seen the episode being screened. Even if newly made, they come with built-in déjà vu.

When researching this piece (oh yes, I do), I came across More4’s programming for a day last week. From Kirstie’s Vintage Gems at 8.55am, until Grand Designs at 7.55pm, couch potatoes could fill their day with wall-to-wall property programmes. I didn’t tune in at 6.55pm to discover if The Dog House fitted the genre or not.

Much more interesting is why we can’t get enough of other people’s homes and décor. It’s probably something to do with natural nosiness. It’s also surprising these programmes have retained their appeal. Location, Location, Location; Grand Designs; A Place in the Sun and Homes Under the Hammer, all have audiences of over four million. Even repeats have healthy viewing figures.

By rights, soaring prices and interest rates should have dealt them a mortal blow. Yet, they retain their popularity. Location, Location, Location even survived its ineffably posh co-presenter, Kirsty Allsopp observing that young people could “easily” afford a home if they gave up on “easyJet, coffee, gym and Netflix.” Kirstie apparently bought her first house at age 19, possibly not entirely unrelated to her father being the 6th, Baron Hindlip.

Why do people put themselves forward to appear on these programmes? I quite like Scotland’s Home of the Year (SHOTY). It’s a bit of escapism, even though the presenters don’t half talk a load of cobblers. I’m more uneasy about what motivates the owners. Sure, most have good reason to be proud of what they have achieved. Clearly though, it’s not enough to enjoy it privately. Ah well, put it down to my inbred Scottish suspicion of show-offs.

SHOTY participants are generally low key compared to those featured on other programmes. Many inhabit a parallel universe with budgets far beyond what most of us could afford. Their relative youth is also puzzling. One recent episode featured a young couple relocating from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. Property isn’t exactly cheap in the north-east, but, despite their huge budget, they were “struggling” to buy in Edinburgh. I wish presenters would occasionally dig deeper and ask how relatively young people have that sort of dosh, especially at a time of soaring interest rates. Afterall, a crippling mortgage isn’t just for Christmas.

Not always, but some participants hit a raw nerve. Open plan kitchens, larger than some people’s homes, are dismissed as “too small.” Acres of space, in and out, are de rigueur for “entertaining” and “having friends round.” What, every night? Entertaining has featured in recent SHOTY episodes. Last week, the presenters drooled over “a party home,” with “martinis by the counter, champagne in the dining room, aperitif over in the living room.” There’s a sense our noses are being rubbed in it. Perhaps the presenters could drop a hint that, just a few miles away, people are struggling to heat and feed their families.

Lifestyle programmes are harmless bits of escapism, resistant to what is going on in the real world. Finding a “forever home” for someone with a million-pound budget is relatively easy. Perhaps Kirstie, Phil, Kevin, and the rest, should seek bigger challenges, helping those with smaller budgets put a roof over their heads in the real world.