Q&A with Presenter Kevin McCloud on the Channel 4 show’s self build styles and Grand Designs drinking game

Kevin McCloud fills us in on the history of TV Show Grand Designs on Channel 4 and discusses the changes in self build styles from the home owners featured on the series.

By Jenny Mcfarlane | 9 May 2018

Our Editor, Karen Stylianides sat down with designer and presenter Kevin McCloud to talk chat the Grand Designs bingo drinking game, self building styles and Grand Designs history.

kevin mccloud on stage at grand theatre at grand designs live birmingham 2017

Image: Bircan Tulga

Kevin, lovely to see you at Grand Designs Live for another year! How many years has it been now?

‘Enough but I think this is our 14th year/15th year… that’s how long we’ve been at GDL and the show has been on television for… it will be twenty years in 1990 but we started work in ’97 so we’re already, in our hearts, 21 years old.’

Wow and has that flown by?

‘Just amazingly quickly but not as fast as my hairline’s moved which is annoying and it’s sort of become – whether it’s become any kind of national institution I have no idea – but all I know is that I morphed into it and it’s sort of morphed into me.’

There’s been a few spin offs from the GD TV series as in the Grand Designs bingo drinking game…

It’s so interesting that you mention that because the drinking game, of course, you know nobody wrote that except enthusiastic students and it demonstrates that we don’t have a sort of brand manager really. It’s a kind of natural Wiki extension of who we are and what we do. In a sense it’s a good thing we have it, it shows that we’re in good health.’

It’s kind of like it’s got a life of its own – it’s grown outside the brand

‘People often ask me who is your brand manager, who looks after brand, how often do you have meetings, planning meetings?

The answer is, well, we have a planning meeting maybe once a year in the pub and the brand manager – who? I mean we don’t have any individual looking after it but then you see the television programme is made on location with almost no script and that’s all about people collaborating – who are really good at their jobs and wanting to get the best out of the energy of the day and those people and their contribution.

And the exhibition it’s the same thing – I mean, there are probably four or five people who are actually key in kind of driving the creativity here and the quality of it and the energy of it and if it were a carefully managed thing with a manual, telling us what to do, it would be dead, it wouldn’t feel as energetic as it does… the energy of this event and the energy of everything  we do really depends on almost a spontaneity or that collaboration between people who share a common love of it, a common passion.’