I don’t know if you remember but I did a posting (‘deja vu viewing’, Sept 4) about this day-time programme called ‘Have I Been Here Before’ which invited minor celebs to undergo a regression session. It did nothing but show that our dreams are rarely anchored in fact and they had this historian, Jules Hudson, to prove that there was no evidence to show that our celebs had been here before. Big surprise eh! If I was being charitable I’d say it was a diverting half hour but to be honest it was just a pile of rubbish. Anyway after writing the posting I was surprised to receive quite a flurry of comments from the said Jules and another reader, Lizzie Falconer, who is a renowned pyschic and soul therapist. It made for better entertainment than anything I served up. But you sensed some deeper issues.
Anyway, what do you know, I was catching some early morning tv today – another half hour bit of fluff called ‘Escape to the Country’ and who should pop up as the main presenter – just Jules again. Do you know the programme? A couple, fed up with life in the city are determined to move to the country. They have a budget and a favoured location and it’s Jules’ job to find them 3 possible new homes plus a ‘mystery’ selection, which actually isn’t mysterious in any sense and just serves as a 4th option. I say it’s Jules’ job but the daily programme has alternate presenters; his oppo is Alistair Appleton. Now Alistair has a face that the camera likes and he is a regular presenter on day-time tv. His programme credits cover such stuff as House Doctor, Cash in the Attic and the gruesome Garden Invaders (except when the lovely Kim Wilde is on). So I can see how Alistair’s moving up the programme food chain.
But without wishing to sound ungallant I’m struggling to see what Jules’ brings to the party – an historian and academic presenting a property show. Eh? I thought I’d do some research because I remember other presenters of the show. The last 3 front guys have been:
Melissa Porter who used to work in the property business and still runs her own design and renovation service. And she’s rather attractive.
Nick Page who is less attractive (in fact he’s a big old unit). He’s a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit and has an easy presenter style. Tellingly he used to work as an estate agent but the clinching fact is that, like me, he studied International Politics and History at uni. Not relevant but clearly a top man.
Catherine Gee is a bit too jolly hockey sticks for my taste, sorry C. I always got the impression she was looking down on all these properties and their owners with budgets of no more than £300k. She always seemed a bit too posh totty for the programme – maybe she was spoiled by being the successor presenter to Lloyd Grossman on ‘Through the Keyhole’. (Just as an aside I shall never forget seeing on ThK the homes of Michael Fish – thousands of tasteless nick-nacks – and Su Pollard – decorated as bizarrely as her dress sense).
So it’s rather easier to see the other presenters’ credentials. There’s not much online evidence to indicate Jules’ property expertise and his tv career has hardly been in this genre so far. If he’d moved up to replace the inimitable Tony Robinson on Time Team I could understand it – though I do think Tony’s enthusiastic spikiness is irreplaceable, like Phil’s lank sweaty hair and hat and Mick Aston’s equally inexplicable hairstyle and taste in jumpers. I digress. Is Jules any good at the job – which is a more pertinent question of course. Er…he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable to me. He’s not got the property patter nor does he seem to have his heart in it. I got the impression he couldn’t give a f*ck whether they bought the house or not. Nick seemed to care deeply if they rejected his ideas. Jules also seems uncomfortable with the guests – there’s a lot of hand-wringing and nervous laughter. He just looked today like he’d rather be anywhere else in the world rather than stuck in Snowdonia with this nice pleasant rather dull couple. He only seemed to come to life when he had a beer in his hand rather than their world.
So what? Jules’ career is nothing to do with me and if he makes a mark presenting this stuff then who am I to criticise? I just wonder what qualities TV producers look for in their presenters and where all this ends up for Jules – fronting BB, I’m a Celeb, X Factor? That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Maybe that Time Team slot is the one after all JH…
Yeh like he cares!