A former police station in the West Yorkshire village of Scissett was this week’s diamond in the rough for another wide-eyed young couple who’ve been watching too much Grand Designs.
The police link was both interesting and irritating – interesting because it came with a teasing history (budget cuts in 2014 have seen the police offload £1 billion of property on to the open market; but would locals prefer their bobbies to be locally based?).
Irritating because turning a local cop shop into a family home was the cue for the Remarkable Renovations scriptwriters to go berserk with police-y puns: the brand spanking new bathroom was “the perfect place to come clean”, a bodged plastering job was “a crime scene”; and by the close our friendly pair Rachel and Mike were deemed to have done the building… (ba-dum, tish) “justice”.
No pun was left unturned, perhaps because there was a whole hour to fill of what is by now a most unremarkable format: ugly duckling property endures tortured adolescence before blossoming in to modernised swan as featured in the pages of Living Etc. The task for the programme-makers, therefore, is to find interesting properties, likeable wannabe developers and then try to inject something new besides.
In this instance they succeeded on all three fronts – the police station in “Before” guise came with iron-barred holding cells, copies of the Police Gazette from the 1920s gathering dust next to the check-in desk and a hideous 1960s extension that was a crime in itself… there, you see, it’s catching.