Saturday, 19 January 2008

Fold your arms Justin, we need you to look mean for the publicity shot

Does anyone remember this pair of shockers? Yes, it is Justin Ryan and Colin McAllister - the property millionaires. They had a ridiculous TV programme "Million Pound Property Experiment". They were the original property developer fantasists and inspired a generation of would-be small time property developers.

The show first aired on BBC 2 during 2003-4. It was a pernicious idea; take out a £100,000 loan from the BBC and then transform it into a million pound profit from buying, renovating and selling properties. Of course, Justin and Colin tarted up this concept with charity - any profits would go to the BBC's "Children in Need" campaign.

What pearls of wisdom did the programme offer? Find areas on the up, buy the shabbiest house in the best street, find out what kind of people buy in the area and aim your development squarely at them.

However, the true attraction was not educating people how to make money from property. Rather, it was to show how easy it would be to make money from buying houses on credit, doing some painting and decorating and flogging it off three months later. If Justin and Colin were doing anything sophisticated or difficult, the program would have lost its appeal.

Four million viewers tuned in to watch these jokers flip houses across the UK, and I was one of them. Oh, how I wanted them to fail. However, that was never going to happen. After seven nauseous programmes, the pair ended up with a net profit of £290,000.

The program created a myth. In around two years, Justin and Colin had taken £100,000 loan and generated a 290 percent return. It all looked too easy; a £100,000 was definitely within the reach of most homeowners, buying property is just a matter of visiting an estate agent and any fool can paint and buy furniture. The end result was a surge in small-property development. It helped fuel demand, which pushed up prices.

So, Justin and Colin, you did your bit to create the bubble. You fed the lie, and now the lie is being exposed. I hated the pair of you back then, and time has not healed the wound.


Slagella said...

OMG They were vile weren't they?

tahomafromHPC said...

"We're designeeerrssss!!!"

As I recall, it required constant injections of fresh capital from the beeb to keep their 'system' working. Who could forget Nigel, the long-suffering 'assistant' who actually did the work and tried in vain to keep their (more) ludicrous plans as far from fruition as possible.

Their main involvement was to 'inject the lifestyle' at the end of the development, which seemed to involve jump-cut footage of them placing bundles of twigs and Alessi juicers at strategic points around the place. My teeth still grind.

And yes Ann, if you have not already guessed - I hated them too.

tahomafromHPC said...

Alice even!!

Josh said...

Why oh why oh why did you ever think to write something about these guys. They were long forgotton. Now, they have reentered my mind, and I can't purge them.

Oooooohhhhhhhh I hate you.

andy in nz said...

house porn, its the worst kind!

Great blog Alice glad I bumbled my way here!

BTW thanks for sending us your shite house porn telly, 'my place in slovakia' etc

it drive me mad, mad i tell you...