‘Room to Improve’ is back for a brand new series starting on Sunday 29th January at 9.30pm on RTÉ One. IFTN spoke with Executive Producer Linda Cullen from COCO TV about the reasons for the shows continued success ahead of the tenth series being aired.
“We’re very very proud. We’ve been making it for a decade now. It’s just such a ratings winner and I can understand why,” Linda starts by speaking about ‘Room to Improve’ appearing in the top 20 television programmes in Ireland 2016 list, which was released earlier this month.
Some of Linda’s thoughts on the reasons for ‘Room to Improves’ success include the show’s architect presenter Dermot Bannon.
“Dermot has an incredibly attractive personality and charm on the telly and in person too. I love who he is and he helps to give the show that winning factor. Dermot’s one of those people that in reality you’re not seeing a different person on telly to the person you know and meet in the office or for a coffee,” she said.
The series returns with seven exciting new projects and Dermot’s challenge will be to deliver dream homes with maximum “Wow” at minimum cost. From suburban semi-detached’s in Templeogue to bungalow bliss in Moate and Sutton, the architect will endeavour to match his vision to the ambitons of the home owners.
Talking about the length of time it takes to film the series due to the nature of the content involving the real construction and re-building of people’s homes. IFTN asked Linda about the other factors that go into creating the programmes content.
“We are very careful that in every single episode the stories are told well and that the people involved are really interesting characters. As we have a long enough time in which to film the series, but not necessarily a huge budget. We can cover many stories throughout the duration of filming, which we always do.
“Building a house or putting on a huge extension can be a couple hundred thousand of your money and that is a very big moment in a person life. It’s real situations and it’s very gratifying to be allowed in to people’s lives and to see that process with them and be involved with it.”
IFTN asked Linda what aspects of ‘Room to Improve’ does she find catches the engagement of an audience and what makes it a great programme.
“The programme can be hugely engaging and it is all about the storytelling. You’re telling a story about a particular couple, their architect, their builder, their engineer, their house, their dreams and the drama that happens along the way before they can achieve that end goal.
“Then there’s that gorgeous makeover element of it as well, a makeover alone doesn’t make a great programme it’s the story that makes a great programme.”
COCO Television have been involved with making various home design programmes over the years. “We’d be very interested in them from doing shows like ‘Desperate Houses’, ‘Househunters’ and ‘About the House’ with Duncan Stuart. Home and living type of shows have always been a part of our slate and we love them,” said Linda.
Along with a range of local contractors and crews, the show will feature self builders and have-a-go clients, keen to save money by bringing Dermot’s designs to life all by themselves.
A diverse range of hopeful clients with high expectations and a new addition of QS(Quantity Surveyor), Lisa O’Brien who will be responsible for keeping budgets in check and balancing Dermot’s designerly ambitions.
Dermot’s clients in the new series include a couple who’ve ploughed over 20 years of savings into a dilapidated cottage in Malahide; a fiesty sprout farmer taking on a self build at the seaside village of Rush and a young couple keen to rescue the legacy of an old farmhouse in rural Kildalkey, Co. Meath.
In the opening episode of the new series we meet Robbie and Julie from Darndale in North Dublin who have saved for over 20 years to buy the house of their dreams a 1940s cottage in the picturesque north Dublin suburb of Malahide.
With a budget of €180,000, Dermot’s clients plan to gut the cottage, doubling its size with a spacious new two-storey extension to the rear, but the remediation costs are so high. Dermot can only deliver a single storey. Expect last minute changes, construction dilemmas, frayed tempers, cunning plans, last minute rescues and impressive reveals.
Watch episode one of the new ‘Room to Improve’ series which begins Sunday January 29th at 9.30pm on RTÉ One.
Production Company: COCO Television
Architect: Dermot Bannon
Quantity Surveyor: Lisa O’Brien
Executive Producers: Linda Cullen and Hilary O’Donovan
Series Producer: Jane Wardrop
Director: Joanne McGrath
Production Manager: Ruth McNally
Production Co-Ordinator: Jenny Moylan
Edit Producer: Cuan MacConghail
Editors: Orla Daly, Dan Gannon, Stephen Doran
Scriptwriter: Niall Murphy
DOP: John Dunne, Andrew Cummins, Piaras Mac Cionnaith & others