This is the first academic book to examine the long running hit series Grand Designs, which occupies a significant place in the popular imagination internationally.
The authors apply an empirically grounded, critical perspective to the study of television to reveal how people use the program in their everyday lives. The emphasis on everyday uses and meanings combines creatively with understanding the program theoretically, textually and in terms of its production structures. This position challenges framings of the popular lifestyle and factual television genre that has been dominated by a neoliberal or governmentality perspective for many years.
Presented by British designer and writer, Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs follows the progress of home owners as they embark on design, renovation and building projects at almost always dizzying scales of endeavour. Understanding the program as both a text to analyse and a site of material impact, the book draws on interviews with production members, home renovators, building practitioners and audiences, as well as references to associated media formats to provide contextual depth to the analysis. The authors argue that, as a cultural object, the program is both shaped by and enacts social discourses of home-making, design value and taste. Navigating public, commercial and promotional logics, Grand Designs sparks new forms of cultural production and consumer markets.