If I had a fiver for every time Dermot Bannon says ‘stunning’

Dermot Bannon’s Incredible Homes offers some desperately needed light relief

It is slightly alarming to discover Dermot Bannon's reputation as home-improvement God Emperor has not reached the chillier parts of North America. Pity the Canadians he meets in episode one of Dermot Bannon's Incredible Homes (RTÉ One, 9.35 pm).

They invite Bannon into their over-designed and often inhospitable-looking residences, unaware they are basking in the presence of the individual who more than any other on this planet has tried to make budget-busting wrap-around windows a thing. They should be on their knees, gazes averted.

What they lack in awe they more than make up for with enthusiasm, however, as they give Bannon the grand tour of their essentially ludicrous places of residence (if there is such a thing as over-the-top minimalism, here it is).

Bannon is appropriately bowled over. If I had a fiver for every time he says “stunning” upon walking into a kitchen I could spend second lockdown romping in a sandpit of unsanitised cash.


The result is a perfectly charming survey of Canada’s most … well, gosh, stunning home architecture. Lavish framing helps: we are treated to endless variations of the same drone shot of Bannon at a window as the camera pans back to reveal a vast, rugged vista.

Incredible Homes also brings some desperately needed light relief from the current unpleasantness. You may not have thought you cared about how millionaire mathematics writer James Stewart indulged his fetish for wonky architecture, for instance. Great Homes makes you glad you stuck around as Bannon embarks on a pre-Covid visit to Stewart’s Integral House in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood (it has oodles of glass and high ceilings: apparently Stewart’s greatest wish was to pretend he was living in an office complex in City West).

The biggest problem is that this isn’t Room To Improve part two. No tension crackles between Bannon and the householders with whom he crosses paths. They have lovely dwellings – though, honestly, the one in Nova Scotia with the torture dungeon straight from David Fincher’s Seven is a bit much.

Alas, a sense of rinse and repeat kicks in as we plod from one location to another (the fact it’s always snowing outside doesn’t help). In contrast to Room To Improve opportunities for disagreements or last-minute panic over budget or planning are at a minimum. Bannon’s only job is to stand around gawping. The novelty wears thin.

So Incredible Homes is lovely for what it is. But there is little potential for conflict. That’s a key ingredient of Room to Improve and lashings of luscious Canadian landscaping cannot come close to replacing it.