Last Night's Viewing: Kevin’s Grand Design, Channel 4
Without You, ITV1

 

I'd rather hoped that Kevin's Grand Design would turn out to be a personal project, but although he seemed to have heavily invested in it, both monetarily and financially, we aren't yet to find out what the Nit-picker's Nit-picker would actually produce if he self-built a home for himself. Instead, this was to be an exercise in exemplary development: "I want to do everything," he said as he embarked on a project to produce low-cost, socially mixed housing. "I want it to be the best, I want it to be the cheapest, I want it to be the most sustainable, I want it to be the most exciting, the most architecturally inspired, the most contextual, the least mediocre." He also wanted to be the "Heston Blumenthal of housing", which sounded a little ominous. You expect an en suite bathroom, but you actually get a playroom-cum-kitchen, connected to the dining room by a playground slide.

His early plans looked a lot more Little Chef than molecular cuisine. With the help of a housing association, he found a bit of land in Swindon and went scouting for local context, snooping round a Brunel workers' village for ideas. He said it was "rich with design ideas", but it looked like a pretty standard row of back-to-back terraces to me, a perfectly respectable form of high-density housing but not exactly the architectural equivalent of snail porridge. Unfortunately, the locals took against his plan to pave over a much-loved bit of local greenery, and snared the proposal with so much red tape that it would have taken him years to cut himself out again. His first set of architects departed, prompting snippy headlines in the papers and a deeply ironic little pet from Kevin: "If you want to judge me, judge me... when the project's finished," he snapped. His next subjects should have that printed on a T-shirt so they can wear it for every site visit.

 

He and the housing association found another site – an ex-caravan park that already had planning permission for 36 houses. The problem was that an intervening collapse in the housing market meant they actually needed 44 to make the scheme work. Again, the neighbours weren't happy at having a utopian experiment conducted on their doorstep: "If we're not careful about the people that actually go into those houses, then we can make it another little cesspit, to be honest," said one resident. It wasn't an attractive whiff of nimbyism, that, but it was authentic and it made you wonder about the realism of McCloud's determination to break even with a mix of social and private housing. Eco-design, innovative construction and free-flowing circulation space often play less part in house purchases than simple snobbery. And in any case, when they added up the figures they realised they couldn't afford to sell the houses at a price that would make them attractive to anyone, let alone the somewhat niche market of open-minded social pioneers looking for a new-build in Swindon.

The house in Without You was an Edwardian terrace in mid-renovation, which seemed fairly plausible as a setting for Ellie and Greg, a professional couple trying, with slight anxiety, for their first child. Sadly, Ellie's plans for another stab at the conception lottery are sideswiped by the arrival of two police officers telling her that her husband has been killed in a car accident and that there was a woman in the car at the time. Was Greg cheating or is there something fishy about the accident? Anna Friel plays the increasingly suspicious widow and Marc Warren plays Greg, who circumvents the drawback of playing a character killed in the first five minutes by turning up for the occasional posthumous chat. And it's fine, if you have a surfeit of time on a Thursday evening and are looking for a way to cull an hour.

Kevin's Grand Design Channel 4

Without You ITV1

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine