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The people have spoken: Nick Knowles and DIY SOS nail top position in UK’s favourite property TV survey


  • DIY SOS is the Nation’s favourite property TV show – with host Nick Knowles also voted the top property show presenter
  • Downton Abbey voted as the Nation’s dream home, with Dallas’s Southfork Ranch a close second
  • Opinion of property professionals differs, favouring ‘educational’ tv property shows

A survey conducted by My Home Move, has revealed that Nick Knowles, host of the BBC’s DIY SOS, is the Nation’s favourite property TV presenter. The show was also voted as the Nation’s favourite property TV show.

The survey, conducted by the independent research agency Gorkana, asked 700 members of the British public to select their favourite property television show, presenter and dream ‘iconic’ home.

Nick Knowles, with his down-to-earth, cheeky-chappie presenting style, has presented DIY SOS since it first aired in 1999. The show, which often features emotional storylines, reached a record number of viewers in October 2015 for an episode in which Prince William and Prince Harry helped to build homes for veterans in Newton Heath.

The UK’s top 5 favourite property TV shows:*

The UK’s top 5 favourite property TV show presenters:*

Commenting on the findings, Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, said: 

“Property is a very British obsession, so naturally there are many programmes on our television dedicated to properties of all shapes and sizes. What the results show is that property is aspirational; whether it’s improving the properties that we own or building and buying the properties we dream about.”

As part of the survey, respondents were asked which iconic property would be their ideal home. The fictional estate of Downton Abbey came first place with 16% of the vote, followed by Dallas’ Southfork Ranch with 14% and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter) with 13%.

Doug continued, “The properties the Nation has chosen as their dream homes are interesting, as they are all unique in their own ways. Home ownership and the type of property we own in the UK has typically been an indicator of social status; the bigger the property is, the more successful we are, so it’s no surprise that the Nation’s dream home is that of the Earl of Grantham.

“Off-screen, home ownership is still a benchmark of success and an aspiration for many in the UK, however with rising prices and a lack of supply, many are struggling to make their dreams a reality. Our research has suggested that there are still those in their 50s and 60s who dream of owning their own home but are struggling to get onto the property ladder. There are also many that plan to be gifted a deposit or use government schemes to purchase their first home.** If current market conditions continue to make it difficult for people to purchase their first property, it begs the question; is home ownership becoming a pipe dream?”

Regional and age variations

Although Nick Knowles was voted as the favourite presenter in all regions with the exception of the South West, there was some regional variation in the shows themselves. Grand Designs proved to be the most popular across East Anglia, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and Northern Ireland; Location, Location, Location was the most popular in Scotland and the South West and Homes Under the Hammer was the most popular show in the North East, North West and West Midlands. (See Chart 1)

When it came to the dream iconic property, there was a clear split dependant on age range. Hogwarts Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry was the most popular amongst 18-44 year olds with 16% of the vote; Southfork Ranch was the most popular amongst 45-63 year olds, with 20% of the vote and Downton Abbey was most popular amongst the over 65s, with 24% of the vote. (See Chart 2)

Property Professionals 

When the survey was conducted with Property Professionals (Conveyancing, Estate Agency and Financial Services professionals), the results were slightly different; Channel 4’s Grand Designs was chosen as their favourite show, along with the programmes presenter Kevin McCloud.

Continuing, Doug said, “It is clear that the property community are looking for a different viewing experience when it comes to shows about their industry. Grand Designs is known for presenting new, innovative ways of building properties and is largely concerned with the finer details of how the build will come together. In contrast to Nick Knowles, Kevin McCloud’s style is almost tutorial in nature, helping the viewer through some of the more technical aspects of the show.

“It seems that while the public prefers the ‘good-news’ story of people coming together to help those in needs, the industry recognises and uses the educational value of property shows. Either way, the Nation’s obsession with property continues to be reflected in the variety of property shows on our screens, and I am sure we will see more of them in the years to come.”

*Data is available upon request

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