Property-based TV shows arguably represent one of the few occasions the general public comes face to face with the real estate industry – other than when buying or selling a house of their own, of course. And, like them or not, shows like A Place in the Sun and well-established TV personalities like Sarah Beeny, Kirsty Allsop, and Kevin McCloud attract millions of viewers every week. Both Grand Designs and Relocation, Relocation, for instance, have pulled in 5 million viewers a piece during their respective runs. Why? The Independent reports that Brits are aspirational and upwardly mobile, even more so than our European neighbours.
Fame at Last
Given the popularity of celebrity property developers then, it seems strange that few of them have ever made the switch to reality TV although, admittedly, TOWIE's nightclub owner Mick Norcross did do the swap in reverse, moving from TV to building five-bedroom homes in London, at £1.4 million each. Let's take a quick look at the potential career boost the likes of Kirsty Allsop could earn from an appearance on reality TV.
Ironically, despite the fact that an average of 7.9 million people tune into the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing every week according to the entertainment website TellyMix, reality TV can sometimes be a curse for the very famous. An infographic from Betway Sports notes that the person with the most social media followers has never finished higher than fourth on Strictly, while two of the three most recent winners were the second-least popular on social networks. Similarly, the 2017 winner, Holby City's Joe McFadden, told the Metro that his post-Strictly fame has consisted more of party invites rather than movie auditions. The actor did, however, note that dancing was perhaps too far removed from his usual career to have had any kind of major impact on his life.
The relative lack of fame that many TV estate agents have, then, could work in their favour. However, it seems that the major benefactors of an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing are already involved with the BBC or have an interest in performance-based reality TV. Caroline Flack went on to co-host the X-Factor and Love Island, while Alesha Dixon managed to secure judging roles on Britain's Got Talent, The X-Factor, and Strictly itself. A few radio and presenting jobs went Strictly competitors' way too, with Ore Oduba featuring on BBC Radio 2 and Matt Baker earning the mantle of The One Show host. It's perhaps the association with the BBC (most property development shows air on Channel 4) and the presence of an already relevant career that keep celeb estate agents off the dance floor and within their own niche.
So, are we likely to see Kevin McCloud doing the polka, or George Martin doing the foxtrot on our screens anytime soon? Probably not, but it's a nice thought.