Interior Design Masters is coming back to BBC Two in February for a second series, with Alan Carr taking over hosting duties from Fearne Cotton.
The eight-part competition show sees aspiring designers competing to create striking interiors for everything from hotels to shops to luxury villas.
‘Basically, I’ve been employed because I have no filter,’ says Alan. ‘If the hallway is painted baby poo brown I’m going to say it, or if the dado rail is wonky I will bring it up.
‘It’s not a complete bitch fest – I do dish out a lot of praise, because they were all so talented.’
Former ELLE Decoration editor Michelle Ogundehin returns as head judge of the show, setting a new challenge every week for the interiors enthusiasts, and then judging their efforts alongside a special guest designer. This year, visiting experts will include familiar faces of the interiors world such as Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Abigail Ahern and Kit Kemp.
‘If you thought the last series showcased some brilliant ideas and clever designs, then this one will knock your socks off,’ says Michelle. ‘Right from episode one the standard of work is incredibly high, and it made my job as series judge really hard!
‘All of the designers bring their own likes, dislikes, backgrounds and preferences to the table, and it’s such a privilege to see them unpick it all, and themselves, as they start to understand what being a real interior designer is all about. It’s all about the people as much as the projects for me.’
Episode one sees the ten interiors enthusiasts paired up to redesign million-pound show homes in Oxford, with just £1,500 and the services of two tradesmen at their disposal. Alan Carr will be on location to track the tears, tensions and triumphs of the makeovers, before Michelle and expert guest Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen give their verdict on the designs.
Each episode will see the creator of the weakest design eliminated from the competition. The series winner will receive the professional opportunity of a lifetime – a contract with one of the Lake District’s leading boutique hotels.
So what qualities does judge Michelle want to see in a winner? ‘I’m looking primarily for people that are open to learn, with a can-do attitude and a unique point of view. I can only bring out the best in someone who’s prepared to accept that they don’t know it all already, and no-one wants to see design by numbers,’ she says.
‘It’s so easy to fall into the trap of defaulting to old favourites or personal must-haves, but if it’s not appropriate for the scheme, location, purpose or brief, then you have to be big enough to change it. That said, passion also goes a long way, as does enthusiasm!’
What time is Interior Design Masters on – and on what channel?
The first episode of Interior Design Masters airs on BBC Two at 8pm on Tuesday 2nd February. The remaining seven episodes will air every Tuesday at the same time.
Who are the contestants this year?
Ten aspiring designers from across the country will be competing for the chance to launch their professional careers. They are:
Amy, 43, lives in Leeds and is a mother of three. She describes her style as bold and full of joy.
Barbara, 34, lives in Brighton and is a former visual merchandiser. She describes her style as playful minimalism.
Charlotte, 28, lives in London and is a textile designer. She describes her style as bespoke-ly curated.
Jon, 45, lives in Worthing and is a retail executive. He describes his style as bold, engaging and colourful.
Lynsey, 36, lives in West Yorkshire and is an architect. She describes her style as original and creative.
Mona, 38, lives in Brixton and is a film set designer. She describes her style as eclectic Bauhaus.
Micaela, 33, lives in South-East London and is an upholsterer. She describes her style as mature vintage.
Paul, 32, lives in Belfast and is a retail manager. He describes his style as dramatic, luxe and polished.
Peter, 33, lives in Cheshire and is a former doctor. He describes his style as contemporary classic.
Siobhan, 42, lives in West Yorkshire and is an NHS worker. She describes her style as glamorous, joyful maximalism.
Who won series one?
Series one of Interior Design Masters was won by Cassie Nicholas, an antique shop owner from Bristol. After wowing Michelle in the final episode with her makeover of a Manchester apartment, Cassie was crowned winner and awarded a contract to redesign the bar of the trendy Dorsett Hotel in West London.
She now runs her own interior design company, Cassie Nicholas Studios, alongside her antiques business.