TV review

Scotland’s Home of the Year


It is a measure of how Scotland has taken this BBC show to its heart that, four series in, there is no shortage of properties willing to open their doors to this nosey nation we call home.

What a mess we must make, metaphorically clumping through the place, stroking the fabrics, banging on about “bringing the outdoors in”, all that home interior speak jazz. Would you allow us in the door? Quite.

But here we go again, collecting the keys for series number five. First stop was the east and the Old Train House in Edinburgh. When owners Christina and Ben first saw the property it had been lying empty for ten years.

“Let’s go trainspotting,” said judge Banjo Beale. Having won Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr and landed his own BBC Scotland show, Designing the Hebrides, Banjo is now a permanent fixture on the judging panel. If he keeps this work rate up he’ll be reading the news on Reporting Scotland by Christmas.

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Fellow judge Anna Campbell Jones made a beeline for the heart of the home, a chair by the window, and declared it a “really good nebbing spot”. You don’t see that description in an estate agent’s particulars, but you should.

From there she nipped into the kitchen, where the cooker wall was covered in rectangular “metro tiles”. Like wot I’ve got, I thought proudly. I thought too soon.

Normally, said Anna, metro tiles would be a “cop-out” in a kitchen. What a cheek, suggesting my tiles were a design cliche. I could feel my face turning as red as the SHOTY heart. Tile-shamed in my own home.

But then Anna softened, declaring this style of tile “compulsory” in a converted station. Didn’t entirely help me, not living in a station, but she was trying. Banjo went further: “Aw, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t have subway tiles,” he said, which I don’t think was snarky.

Not being snarky is crucial to SHOTY’s success. Had the format been three snooty designers sniping their way around much-loved family homes it would not have lasted beyond the first series.

READ MORE Who is Banjo Beale, new judge on the SHOTY block?

Next was Alexandra Apartment, a double upper Victorian property in Kirkcaldy that was workaday outside and wow inside. Last home in the heat was Mount Frost in Fife, where the Nineties mixed with elements of the Seventies. “A porthole window on a cul de sac,” mused Banjo. “That was all I dreamed of as a kid.”

Inside, everything was on trend, bright, and comfy, especially the bedroom. “That is the bedspread of dreams,” said Anna. Didn’t they have one of those in the Coronation, alongside the pillows of destiny and the occasional chair of fate?

“I bet you look good in that mirror,” said Banjo to Anna. Suddenly remembering the presence of a third judge, he added quickly, “You too, Michael.”

We were wondering when Michael Angus, architect and lecturer, was going to get a look-in on the Anna/Banjo love-in. As we know from the papers, Michael is offski after this series, his replacement already lined up. It’s a wally dug eat wally dug world this interiors game. One minute you are waxing lyrical about a window, the next you’re being chucked out of it.

READ MORE: Stornoway home wins 2022 contest

When it came to the scoring, all three had given one of the homes a maximum ten points each. Oh dear. Regular viewers will know the judges’ tendency to mark high at the start and become tougher as the weeks roll on.

It starves the competition of drama if the first property gets a row of perfect tens. We’ll see. Last year’s winner, a croft house in Stornoway, came out of nowhere to triumph.

Otherwise, this being Scotland, the final result might end up in the courts. Not that we are in danger of taking SHOTY too seriously …

BBC1 Scotland, Monday, 8.30pm; repeated Thursday, 7.30pm, BBC Scotland