Scotland’s Home of the Year

(BBC Scotland)

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IMPUDENT lot, TV types. The job of having a nosey round people’s houses used to be done by knight of the realm David Frost (and sidekick Loyd Grosman) in Through the Keyhole.

Now Celebrity Snoop Dogs (Channel 4, Friday) straps cameras to the backs of hounds and sends them trotting through the homes of their owners like some sort of interior design sniffer mutts.

Last week, comedian Kevin Bridge’s lovely yellow Labrador Annie did the honours at his home outside Glasgow, and a cracking job she made of it too. Savills should snap her up.

Scotland’s Home of the Year, which reached its final last night, opts for a more traditional, middle of the road, mode of snooping.

HeraldScotland:

Back for a second series after its successful debut last year on the new BBC Scotland channel, SHOTY – as it is known to fans much in the way Coronation Street is Corry – sends an architect (man in black Michael Angus), an interior designer (tattooed lady Anna Campbell-Jones) and a lifestyle blogger (queen of the wafty tea dress Kate Spiers) to run their collective eye over 27 properties around Scotland, eventually selecting nine for the final and one eventual winner.

The finalists met the judges at the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park. One wondered what Charles Rennie Mackintosh would have made of it all.

From a grand Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh to a dinky cottage near Pitlochry, taking in renovated this, that and the other along the way, I like to think CRM would be tickled at the obvious love of design on show.

HeraldScotland:

He would probably be just as annoyed as the viewers at the endless wittering of the judges.

Goodness but those three can bang on about not very much. Watery patter is just about acceptable in a 30-minute show, but the final was an hour and the strain showed.

To pad things out, the presenters were sent to notable homes that were now museums, which was as exciting as it sounds.

All we wanted, viewers and contestants alike, was a last trot through the finalists’ gaffs, some low level snarking, and a winner selected.

HeraldScotland:

Usually, SHOTY comes up short on the snarking. This has to one of the most determinedly “nice” shows on TV. The contestants are nice. “Everyone’s house is so beautiful, I don’t think anyone would mind who won because everybody deserves to,” said one. The judges are nice, too.

That won’t do for a final, however, when tough decisions have to be made.

Maybe it was the confidence that comes with a second series, but the judges were definitely taking some baby steps towards a more critical approach.

When Spiers described one home as “a bit staged” the other two gasped at her daring, but the gloves were off after that. The three are becoming more relaxed together, which helps.

HeraldScotland:

The last series lacked drama because the winner was so obvious from the start. This year the honours were more evenly spread, and it was heartening that the best looked like real homes you could eat a fish finger sandwich in instead of something straight out of a glossy mag.

But from first sight the grand flat in Park Terrace, Glasgow, was head, shoulders and hand-gilded cornicing above the rest. The awestruck judges spent their visit speaking in hushed tones, as though they were in a place of worship.

Campbell-Jones was so taken by the gorgeous colours, the sumptuous fabrics, and general attention to detail on display she cried. If I had to dust all those photo frames I’d cry too.

No surprise that the owner of Park Terrace, Hugh Berry, was an interior designer and gilder by trade.

No surprise either that a third series of SHOTY has been commissioned for 2021. Come hell, high water or virus, we will still love to have a keek beyond other people’s front doors.

Series available on iPlayer