Changing Rooms: Llewelyn-Bowen discusses other interior shows
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Changing Rooms originally ran from 1996 to 2004, and the new series will bring an element of nostalgia to fans. New host Anna Richardson and designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, with carpenter and joiner Tibby Singh complete the team. The Channel 4 show sees two sets of homeowners from the same neighbourhood work against the clock to renovate a room in each other’s houses. They’ll work with Laurence or Jordan and Russell to bring the new looks to life in the chosen rooms, with the designers’ bold and opposing styles ensuring each transformation will be spectacular, innovative and unexpected. Laurence discussed why his favourite moment of the show was also the most difficult.
When asked what the best moment of the new series was, Laurence explained: “I mean, we’ve had a really, really good group of people on, who are really good fun to work with, and then really good fun people who open their eyes.
“And I think the one that really, really sticks in my mind is the programme that we filmed in Leeds.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but it was the one that was the most difficult because it’s a room in a Housing Trust house.
“So there was a long list of things that couldn’t be done. I couldn’t attach things to the walls, and all the usual Changing Rooms stuff I couldn’t do.
“So I had to really just focus on colour, and using paint and doing things in a more simplistic way.
“And I think, in many ways, that’s the one show that will be the most inspirational for people.”
He continued: “Because, you know, there’s nothing to hide behind that.
“You look at that show you go ‘Yes, but I can’t do this, I can’t do that’, but actually, you can do all of that.
“Even if you live in rented accommodation, you can have that room. So why the hell don’t you?”
Talking about slotting back into his Changing Rooms role after 17 years of the show being off-air, Laurence commented: “The funny thing was, because it’s actually been going on for a while, I’ve been quite involved in the set up of it.
“Literally because I’m the only person left alive! And that’s how it works.”
He added: “You know, I have got the secret of the Holy Grail.
“When pre-production started about a year ago, I remember just going through things in the meetings like ‘Well, you have to understand that this is going to happen and that’s going to happen, you need to have a clear space to store paint, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that’.
“So actually, the honest answer is that I was dreading this!
“When it started actually getting closer and closer we had to isolate for seven days beforehand and I remember leaving the family, standing outside the house in the car with all my stuff and driving away thinking ‘Oh my God’.
“Because at that point, all I could remember from Changing Rooms was just the sheer exhaustion and the mental stress.
“I’m not a very stressy person but it’s a phenomenal amount of pressure to get the room done, and to get it right.”
The classic interior design show has returned 25 years after it first aired.
Episode one kicked off in Swansea, South Wales, where two sets of neighbours made over each other’s rooms with the help of maximalist Laurence.
Florist Claire had a living room which she described as “a sea of beige”, but she was hoping for something ostentatious.
Her neutral design was transformed into something far more eye-catching with the help of the team.
Changing Rooms airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.
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