Heat (UK)

This Is My House

BBC1, Thursdays, 9pm


It really shouldn’t work. A peculiar game-show mix of Through The Keyhole and Would I Lie To You, in which three actors and one real person try to convince a celebrity panel that they are the owner of a lavish abode. For an hour. Yet, somehow, it makes for totally engaging viewing, and sustains its premise for pretty much all of that bold 60-minute running time. Credit to show creator Richard Bacon, who I must acknowledg­e is a friend, having appeared on his legendary 5 Live radio show most weeks for about five years. Now, he’s become a TV format creator of some renown, having not only come up with this TV treat for the BBC, but also dreamt up a primetime American network hit called The Hustler, which has already been recommissi­oned by ABC. The secret of This Is My House’s success is the attention to detail and the cunning melding together of all its elements. You’ve got the perfect host in Stacey Dooley, who effortless­ly bonds with the four competitor­s; the deeply likeable and funny celeb panel – featuring regulars Bill Bailey, Judi Love, Emily Atack and Jamali Maddix – who are joined by a weekly guest; and the wouldbe homeowners, who are variously eccentric, hugely enthusiast­ic and, by and large, clever and convincing. And, let’s face it, we also get to nose round someone’s generally large and luxurious home, without having to pretend we’re interested in buying it. So far, halfway through this first series of six episodes, I have failed to guess the actual homeowner, and the celebs haven’t done much better, which makes the whole thing even more satisfying. It’s the unlikely TV triumph of the year.

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