Knowing me, knowing you: Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan

Arelationship under the microscope

COLIN MCALLISTER, 43, is part of an interior design and television presenting duo alongside Justin. Their shows, including 'Trading Up' and 'How Not To Decorate', are shown worldwide. They have been in a relationship since 1985 and became civil partners in 2008.

 

It was so long ago that we met that I think we were in black and white – 26 years ago. Breasts brought us together. We were in a club independently in Glasgow and in the booth between us was the largest lady you've ever seen, drunk as a skunk, who decided to take her top and bra off. I caught Justin's eye, we both burst out laughing and that was it. At the time Justin was still at university and I was working for the council. We had a proper, old-fashioned courtship. We moved in together after about two years and we decided that we needed to get on the property ladder so we bought a place in Glasgow for £26,000. It was in poor condition and we renovated it ourselves. We moved soon after and sold the house for double the price, so thought we'd do it again. We taught ourselves about design and DIY and became passionate about it. We started to write a column for The Herald and interviewed tons of interior designers, and eventually the BBC found us. One of our biggest shows was The Million Pound Property Experiment for BBC2. It did well in places like Australia, South Africa and especially Canada, where we now do lots of television work and even own a penthouse in downtown Toronto.

I don't really know what the secret to lasting happiness is; I think you keep your mystery and don't lose your self-respect. And never ever let your partner see you on the loo.

 

JUSTIN RYAN, 44, has made numerous other television appearances alongside Colin, including 'I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!' and 'Celebrity Masterchef'. They divide their time between houses in Glasgow, London and Toronto.

We've had the opportunity to do lots of different things that have taken us out of our comfort zone, like when we did Celebrity Masterchef. We only had basic culinary skills and were trying to make it look like we knew what we were doing. We both learnt a lot, though, and now whenever friends come round for dinner they expect haute cuisine. We also did I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! a couple of years ago. It tested us but it was also really enjoyable. I stayed in longer than Colin, which was hard because it was the first time we'd been apart in 25 years. We sort of function as a twin unit and all of a sudden I had to think for myself. We're a unit professionally and in life and I couldn't imagine life without him. It's good when two become one and you find the other half of your soul. We're different in lots of ways and similar in others. In terms of starting a family, I'm a big baby and he's a big baby so we're busy looking after each other. Never say never, but time is moving on and I certainly don't lie in bed bemoaning the fact that I've never become a dad. Together we have lots of nephews and nieces and we're godparents to some of our friends so there are lots of children around.

Colin and Justin are working with the Electrical Safety Council to draw attention to the dangers of electricity around the home. Download "Home Electrical Safety Check" app or visit esc.org.ukb

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Y1 Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...

    Senior Financial Services Associate - City

    Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...

    Residential Property

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...

    Y5 Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week