Alongside that has been a similarly unstoppable rise in the number of property shows on TV, from Location, Location, Location to Changing Rooms and the latest one, George Clarke’s Flipping Fast (Channel 4, Weds, 9pm).
A cross between the BBC’s daytime renovation hit Homes Under the Hammer and The Apprentice, Flipping Fast saw six teams of would-be property developers given £100,000 each to buy, renovate and then sell homes as quickly possible – the ‘flipping’ of the title.
The team which makes the most profit at the end of the year, wins.
With thousands of people priced out of owning their own homes, at the mercy of landlords and short-term contracts, it must be galling to see people so wantonly throwing money – and not even their money, but Channel 4’s – about at houses many viewers couldn’t even afford.
Even more annoying would be people like Pamela and Gordon, who spend thousands on a house they haven’t even seen, miles away from where they live, without even a survey.
Meanwhile, Harriet turns a handy £19k profit on a one-bed flat in Morecambe – thanks in large part to having builders in the family.
In this first episode, few of the teams even managed to buy anything, such is the overheated nature of the market, so we were left to boggle at Pamela and Gordon’s naivete.
It might have served as a cautionary tale, if anyone could afford to buy a house these days, but in the end it was as dull as a conveyancing report.
Silent Witness (BBC1, Mon/Tues, 9pm) has returned for around its 800th series, and it’s still as slow, portentous and ponderous as ever. A shooting in the opening 10 minutes was as dramatic as it got, even the return of original witness Amanda Burton couldn’t enliven this dead horse which has taken quite a flogging.
The BBC has announced that several of its channels, including CBBC and BBC4, will move online-only, while there will be cuts to local radio and TV – moves to mitigate the two-year freeze to the licence fee. These are vital parts of a public-service BBC, and the Government should recognise that.