Scotland’s Home of the Year***

BBC Scotland, 8pm

THEY’RE back – the tattooed lady, the goth architect and the lifestyle blogger, all out to run the rule over the country’s big fancy hooses.

Scotland’s Home of the Year is Through the Keyhole, Caledonia-style, a show that gives a grateful nation the chance to satisfy its twin passions for being nosy and pronouncing on other people’s taste. There is an added bonus this year: we have all grown so thoroughly sick of our own four walls during the lockdown it’s a thrill to see someone else’s.

The programme was one of the big hits for the new BBC Scotland channel, so no surprise at the recommission for IWC, makers of Location, Location, Location.

The only trouble with the last series was that the clear winner emerged early on, robbing the show of what little tension it had. It looked like the same mistake had been made when judges Anna Campbell Jones, she of the tats and trendy specs, man in black Michael Angus, and Kate Spiers, floaty tea dress woman, turned up to The Edge, a modern home perched on the cliffs above the Solway Firth.

“Lots of glass,” said Michael. “Big window cleaning bill,” said Kate. The trio’s patter has not improved much. Mostly they haver their way through the houses stating the bleedin’ obvious, but every now and again useful advice emerges.

The place was stunning, and immaculate. Not a toaster or a kettle to be seen in the kitchen. Very “LA” the judges agreed. Anna could imagine herself flopping down on one of the designer sofas. She did not have to imagine for long because she did just that, feet on the furniture and all. No-one shouted “Get your blooming shoes off, woman!” so I did, and you probably did too. When the trio went out on the deck there was a giant inflatable unicorn. Anna had a go on that as well.

The second home in this, the Borders and Southern Scotland heat, was a former Victorian girls school in Kelso. The owner had lived in London for 20 years before selling up and heading north with her young son and a cockapoo.

The place had been gutted and transformed. Another stunner. Very “Scandi” said the judges. Kate loved everything, particularly the greys and blues in the colour scheme. Again, the place was spotless. How does that happen with a young child and a hound on the loose?

The final house was another conversion, this time of a grain mill in Eyemouth. It had five floors and stretched to 12,000 square feet. After “very LA” and “very Scandi”, this gaff was “very New York loft”, though Anne also thought it had a “chic, blingy, Knightsbridge hotel vibe”.

It was so huge the dining room had two long tables. The ceiling was covered in stained panels of MDF, the sort of stuff Changing Rooms used to hose around. “Do you think that’s a bit cheap?” wondered Michael. Anna affected mock shock at this outbreak of interiors snootiness.

He was not impressed, either, by the bath in one of the bedrooms. “Oh look, it’s a big soup bowl,” he said, climbing into it before Anna could.

We never got to find out what anyone did for a living, how they managed to afford places like these. The heating bill alone for the Eyemouth property would be enough to bring the average person out in a cold sweat. But shows such as SHOTY offer an idealised view of life, temporary entry into a world of white sofas and clutter-free kitchens. Nice to visit for a while.

It was time for the judges to put scores on the doors (not literally – think of the woodwork). Won’t say who won this first of nine heats, but I was surprised. Next week it’s Grampian and Central Highlands. Stand by your immaculately made, cushion-strewn beds and let’s hope Anna keeps her feet off.

Available on iPlayer