George Clarke has rarely been off our screens since he made his TV presenting debut with Channel 5’s Build A New Life In The Country, but has since become a Channel 4 stalwart thanks to such shows as The Restoration Man, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Shed Of The Year. The architect talks here about one of his passions - The Ideal Home Show, where he’ll be acting as an ambassador
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT?
I used to love drawing, my dad used to sketch and draw an awful lot. He wasn’t trained, but he enjoyed it. My granddad was a builder and when I was 9, 10, 11 years old, I would spend a lot of my school holidays on building sites when he was there.
HOW DID THE TV WORK COME ABOUT?
I had no ambition to be on TV at all. I was lecturing at the time at a number of universities, I had my practice and I was asked to write a book on architecture so I got a literary agent. She called me up a few days later and asked me if I’d be interested in telly.
YOU MUST HAVE MET SOME AMAZING PEOPLE AND BEEN INVOLVED WITH SOME INCREDIBLE PROJECTS BECAUSE OF IT
To be able to travel all over the country - in fact all over the world with Amazing Spaces, I’ve been to Texas, Italy and we’re just about to go to Germany this year - and travel and see buildings and talk about them and be paid for it is just ridiculous really. I love it.
YOU’LL BE AT OLYMPIA FOR THE IDEAL HOME SHOW
It’s a nice coming home story. Personally, I felt quite proud of being part of Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court. It’s been so inextricably linked to Earl’s Court for the past 50 or 60 years, so for me to have been ambassador there for the past four or five years was fantastic. But Olympia is a great building.
WHAT WILL YOU BE UP TO?
I think it’s a case of what am I not up to, to be honest! The main things of course are obviously the home village, which is a massive, massive part of the show. And I’m also doing my seminar programme, doing lots of talks. And we have a Q&A when I’m on stage as well, which is really good. And just generally being an ambassador for the whole event.
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP?
I’m making series six and seven of Restoration Man. Amazing Spaces series five this year, which will be out maybe in September. Shed Of The Year was a national competition, that’s coming back. It was an incredible success last year. We did that as a bit of fun, just three one-hour programmes, and it went mad. I’m also making another series with a working title of Ugly House To Lovely House, and the idea is that I take quite ugly post-war houses and make them look lovely again.
lGeorge Clarke is an ambassador at this year’s Ideal Home Show sponsored by Anglian, which is returning to their original venue, Olympia London, on March 20. or tickets, visit www.idealhomeshow.co.uk or call 0844 858 6763.