Round the Houses with Sarah Beenyis a series of podcasts where the ebullient property developer and broadcaster visits well known people in their homes and chats to them about their lives, where they lived before, and where they live now.
Sarah Beeny, as we know from TV, has a lovely engaging manner that encourages people to talk. And they want to talk – because this is about things that matter to them; their families, their homes, their lives. Their homes are a reflection of who they are; based on their memories, experiences, and significant times in their lives.
She gets people to tell us about the places where they grew up, their family and how they started out in their career. It is a potted history of who they are now, based on where they once lived, and with whom: the good times, bad times, ‘70’s décor and wild, wild parties, mental health issues, drug addiction and all.
These celebrities are people we have ( mostly) heard of ( Joe Sugg, Jo Wood, June Sarpong, Julian Clary, Tim Lovejoy, Lynn Bowles and Pearl Lowe) so of course we are that much more interested (nosey) to know about the inner sanctum that is their home. How do they live? Where do they live? Does it fit with how we imagined them to live?
With a podcast, you don’t get any visual information so you have to ‘imagine’ more. This means you have to draw on your own experience of spaces and places and buildings that you have been to, or seen, so that you can ‘picture’ their home environment. But also what you know – or think you know of the individual. How big? How bright? What is the style, location and view? What colours have they used? Are there books? Is it grand/informal/pretentious/homely?
Each of these podcasts is a quirky little vignette featuring individuals who are open about their careers, homes, their style, and possessions. The premise is: we discover something more about who they are, based on where they live. Prompted by Sarah Beeny, they tell us where/why they bought individual pieces, the art/design choices they have made, how they use the space, where they spend most of their time and how attached they are – or not – to their home.
It is a big deal when someone is honest enough to open up about their lives – in public, for the public. It is even more of a big deal when they let others into their homes, to share their private space. Even though the individual may be a public figure, behind closed doors their lives are private. In a world where many people like to Instagram every waking minute of their day, there are still some parts that only people close to them will ever see.
Are celebrities any different from anyone else? Yes? No? They are not necessarily richer, or more interesting people, but because of their careers they do live life in the public eye. We think we know them, but perhaps we only know a persona. And of course, people can change.
Sarah Beeny is a natural enthusiast who understands that homes are for living in and lives are lived in them.
She doesn’t judge the space, or décor, she doesn’t make speeches, but responds naturally to the subject as she finds them, and wholly respects that this is their home, and that she is their guest.
There is an intimacy with a podcast that you don’t get with TV. It seems more informal than the set format of a TV programme, and the conversation flows ( probably with clever editing). At 30-40 minutes each, the dialogue is broken up with jazzy riffs played by Sarah Beeny’s children, which adds to the overall DIY sense that this is just about people chatting, rather than a big production.
Charming, informative, revealing and free to download. What’s not to like?
Available from i-Tunes: Round The Houses With Sarah Beeny