This week saw the return of BBC Three’s take on interior design programming, Mad About the House, with DJ Adam attempting to transform the bland home he shares with girlfriend Hannah (above). If you’re familiar with the channel’s youth-targeted output – and especially with Don’t Tell the Bride – then you’ll recognise the format.

The premise is this: TV researchers find a young couple fresh from their first step onto the property ladder, give them £10,000 to spend on their home’s interior, banish the lady of the household for three weeks, and then rub their hands with glee as the poor young men hammer and drill their way through various disasters and pratfalls.

Meanwhile, under the guidance of a professional interior designer, the girls create their own visions of the space in a carefully mocked up replica of the couple’s home. Will she return to find her interior design dreams realised? Well no, of course not. Where would the fun be in that?

Without doubt the loser in this scenario is destined to be the boyfriend. Despite his best efforts, the worry and stress, hard graft and late nights, the result will always be derided by his other half. In this first episode of the second series, Adam lets his imagination run riot, building a fish tank into the living room floor, and covering the dining room wall with old vinyl records.

Meanwhile, under the watchful eye of her guru, girlfriend Hannah is busy recreating a facsimile of her parents’ home – tasteful patterned wallpaper, vintage furniture, a replica Georgian fireplace. The implication is that this is grown up, sensible, the designs of a mature responsible adult. Adam’s ‘creativity’ is simply the whim of an immature man-boy, to be playfully mocked by the programme’s knowing narrator.

For me, the biggest mistakes Adam made were not the wall of vinyl (or the statue of an ape he installed in the dining room in favour of a table), but the ugly beige carpet and monstrosity of a sofa (see above) – his concessions to ‘maturity’. The programme should have been celebrating Adam’s daring, and criticising Hannah’s fogeyish conservatism, not the other way around.

Finally the couple were reunited, and Hannah walked through the newly remodeled home. I think at one point she called Adam a ‘nutter’. We worried for their relationship as she bemoaned the fact that he’d not designed the home with her in mind. She’d perhaps not realised that her own designs had failed to make any concessions to her partner’s tastes either.

But, to our relief, domestic disaster seems to have been diverted. She seemed quite pleased with the clean lines of the modern kitchen. And actually approved of the black high-gloss flooring tiles. Inevitably the dining room ape is doomed to be evicted, but fortunately for Adam, he’ll be allowed to stay.

Damien Breen, senior designer

‘Mad About the House’ is currently showing on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Three, or catch up on iPlayer. Photo: BBC/Renegade Pictures

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