Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer: How We Created Location, Location, Location | TV and radio


Kirstie Allsopp, présentatrice

There was a design and property magazine in the Guardian called Space. He published an article about me and my husband’s property search business. Channel 4 was looking to do a real estate show; they saw the room and made contact. I did a screen test just like Phil [also a property searcher]. We figured we were going to be property search experts on a new show. We didn’t know we were prepared as hosts.

They gave us £ 600 each for a day of filming, which was a lot of money. The idea was to shoot on weekends so that we could continue our activities. Suddenly we were this double act, helping people to find accommodation. To be fair, we never thought it would last beyond the pilot, but it’s been running for 20 years and 221 episodes now.

A 2013 trailer for the show

Over the years, the format has changed. Originally it was just half an hour with one person looking at several properties. Then it turned into an hour, with two couples with Phil and I filming separately. Apparently we have helped 357 house hunters and received almost £ 115million. Our first researcher was Kate Pybus, who was struggling to find accommodation near her job in central London. In 2000, when we launched this program, the average deposit for a first-time buyer was just under £ 13,000. Now it’s almost £ 19,000 – a jump of almost 50%. Kate might not have felt this all those years ago, but she was in a much stronger position than most first-time homebuyers.

My biggest mistake was wearing my own clothes. I had a red leather coat with a huge zipper, but that meant I was recognized more than I would like. When we started it was a more innocent time. I don’t think I could have done the show if social media had existed back then. It’s already a shame that house hunters who were on the show call me when they are drunk – which has happened because I give them my number. But when it’s on TV now, people are tweeting all the time about the idiocy of the presenters or the house hunters.

It’s not the location, the location, the location that the real estate market has gone crazy for. Because Jamie Oliver does a cooking show, does that mean he’s responsible for obesity? I’ve lobbied successive Housing Ministers to change the appalling way we sell houses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – it’s different in Scotland. But nothing happened. It’s still a mess.

Lockdown prevented us from filming earlier this year, but now we’re doing our 35th series. What we are telling is the story of people’s hopes and dreams. This is why the program has continued.

Phil Spencer, presenter

I feel like we’ve given parents a helping hand, especially confused new buyers. In the early years of the show, we were giving the camera a lot of advice with graphics that now seem rather rudimentary. Over the years, what I liked more than anything was being stopped in the street by people telling me the advice was helpful. One of Kirstie’s best tips was how to tell if your bed would fit into a room – just lay on the floor and use your body like a tape measure! A lot of people are doing it now.

“We had a strange argument”… Phil and Kirstie in 2014. Photograph: Fiona Murray

I think we filmed all the counties in the UK and helped run the ads because at the end of every show we usually ended up discussing the deal in one. I think we’ve been to around 2,000 pubs over the years. I used to keep a map in my office and put pins everywhere we were, but I would need a bigger map now.

As the show developed, we put more emphasis on the conversations that take place between couples and with us. This is where the emotional appeal of location, location, location comes from. It’s a very authentic program. It’s not scripted because it can’t be. Sure, Kirstie and I had a strange feud, usually over which pub to go to, but we were still good friends.

My biggest humiliation came right off Brick Lane in London. I was shooting with two girls who were looking for an apartment and I enlarged the area, emphasizing how close it was to the city, how promising and really safe. Then a policeman arrived and said there had been a murder just around the corner. Another time, I called the real estate agent with an offer that was accepted. I told the guy I was buying it for and he said, “Am I really buying the property?” I said, “That’s the general idea! I think he thought it was just a game.

All 34 series of location, location, location are available on


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