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TV review: Restoration Home

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 15, 2013

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Threat to our heritage is no laughing matter

What is it about comedy actors and history? First we had Tony Robinson on Time Team, then we got Griff Rhys Jones fronting Restoration.

These days it's Caroline Quentin, who made her name in sitcoms such as Men Behaving Badly, who's getting in on the act with Restoration Home (BBC Two, 8pm).

Now in its third series, it has been the best yet. Highlights have included Rock Farm in Shropshire, which featured in the opening episode. Not only was it a beautiful Georgian property saved from destruction, an earlier, historically important building was also discovered on the same site.

Sadly, it seems that there's no end of similar places in need of rescuing. As Jane Root, then controller of BBC pointed out when launching the similarly titled Restoration show ten years ago, once said: "On average, every day in the UK one historic building or monument is lost or destroyed. Yet we know that there is a real appetite for Britain's heritage. On a typical weekend, more people visit historic buildings and monuments than go to football matches."

This week Quentin was in a city that's had a bad press over the years – Hull.

Situated in the East Riding of Yorkshire, it's surrounded by pretty villages and some beautiful rural landscapes. However, its Hull's rundown council estates and high rate of unemployment that tend to grab the headlines.

Hopefully Restoration Home will have helped improve its reputation. Simon Kelsey, featured in last night's episode, certainly thinks it's a great place to live – so great, in fact, that he spent £105,000 on a Victorian townhouse in the city's Coltman Street.

The property was once a high-class address, built in the Victorian era as the home of a fishing magnate. In the years since it's been a clinic, a dental surgery and the council converted it into flats in the 1980s. But we saw how Simon is now working to realise his dream of restoring its former glory.

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