Changing Rooms 2.0: ‘Can you smell my thighs burning?’ yells Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

TV: The home-makeover show is back from the great crushed-velvet boudoir in the sky. Why?

It's 17 years since Changing Rooms ascended to the great crushed-velvet boudoir in the sky. Home-decoration television has had a few alterations in the meantime.

And so, as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen squeezes once more into his leather pants for a bootylicious reboot (Channel 4, Wednesday, 8pm), it feels reasonable to wonder whether the landscape has moved on too far from the vehicle with which he forged his reputation.

It is hard not to think of Changing Rooms, which has moved from its original home on the BBC, as a dusty heirloom. The format is old-fashioned and could do with a few gimmicks. It begins with two teams of makeover experts parachuting into Swansea to help some punters revamp their rooms.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's theme is 'Forever Peacocky' and of course involves a huge swing seat. Claire, in whose home he's indulging himself, doesn't know what to make of it. The audience may empathise

The first is the one-man unit that is Llewelyn-Bowen. Opposite him are Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, who set out to give a postwoman named Lisa a new look of “Shantay Swansea” (which makes no sense even after they explain it).


Llewelyn-Bowen, for his part, is indulging himself at the abode of Lisa’s neighbour Claire. His theme is “Forever Peacocky” and of course involves a huge swing seat. Claire doesn’t know what to make of it. The audience may empathise.

One of the reasons the original Changing Rooms worked was the contrast between Llewelyn-Bowen’s riotous persona and that of his old foil Carol Smillie. But she has been replaced as presenter by the more over-the-top Anna Richardson, who will know a few things about iffy nooks and crannies as host of Naked Attraction, Channel 4’s clothing-optional dating series.

That show has won Richardson a fanbase. But for most viewers the only reason for tuning in to Changing Rooms 2.0 is to clap along as Llewelyn-Bowen says things like “Can you smell my thighs burning?” as he stoops to lift that swinging chair he’s about to install.

As a monument to his singular screen presence, this wobbling edifice just about stays upright. Approached with unsentimental eyes, however, the new Changing Rooms feels like a cobwebbed relic brought down from the attic, its lustre faded, perhaps never to return.

We’ve seen it all before. Llewelyn-Bowen has done it all before. The result is a reunion that has lost all its fizz by first ad break.