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

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