DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
ISAW an episode of that cop show Caroline Quentin was in: she never did anything like the acting she does here on Restoration Home. Clearly the difference is she wasn’t a police officer, but she has fixed up houses. ‘‘ I know from personal experience the hard path our families have chosen to follow,’’ she says. ‘‘ I’ve spent many years restoring various different properties in an attempt to create the perfect family home.’’
Are these what anyone could call family homes though? Or more places to shoot the next Downton Abbey? Steve and Natalie Drury bought Stoke Hall for around $3.8 million and plan to spend a further $2.3 million doing it up. It’ll need that and more. It’s a 30-room Georgian mess, and it needs saving before the cruel ravages of time blah blah blah. Quentin lays it on with a trowel. If she’s not careful they’ll be getting her to do mortar work.
Nobody wanted to buy it. And not only because of the price or because the last owner had started to work on it and then died. ‘‘ I could see what put a lot of people off,’’ says Steve. ‘‘ The buckets catching all the rain water. Um, dry rot everywhere.’’
And despite Natalie’s stoic declaration that the house is ‘‘ amazing,’’ it’s not long before she’s looking grim and saying she doesn’t think they’d buy another listed building again. ‘‘ Ever.’’
And yet all over Britain historic buildings are in danger of being lost forever, Quentin’s emotional introduction goes. The tragedy is — yes, do explain what the tragedy is — they’re far more than bricks and mortar, she says. Far less, actually, by the look of it, but keep going Caroline: ‘‘ They’re the keepers of our past.’’
I’ve always thought the past is overrated. Restoration Home ABC1, 7.30pm
Acting out: Caroline Quentin