How Clean Is Your House?

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How Clean Is Your House?
Format Entertainment/Lifestyle
Starring Aggie MacKenzie
Kim Woodburn
Narrated by Paul Copley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Production
Running time 30 min per episode
Broadcast
Original channel New Episodes;
Channel 4
Channel 4 HD
Re-runs;
More4
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
(2003-2008)
1080i (HDTV)
(2009)
Original run 21 May 2003 (2003-05-21) – 21 September 2009 (2009-09-21)

How Clean Is Your House? was a British entertainment/lifestyle television programme in which expert cleaners Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie visited extremely filthy homes and then cleaned them to perfection. The thirty-minute show was produced by Talkback Thames, the UK production arm of FremantleMedia (itself part of the RTL Group), and airs on Channel 4 and many of its subsidiary channels. It was first broadcast in 2003 and was an immediate ratings success. In November 2009, Channel 4 announced that they had decided to cancel the series in order to make way for new programming.

Summary[edit]

Each episode of the programme follows the same formula. The viewers are first briefly introduced to the residents of the home to be cleaned. Then, accompanied by a dramatic score of horror movie music, Kim and Aggie explore the abode on their own, examining the extent of the mess and looking for any particularly horrible areas. Kim and Aggie then meet the resident before the cleaning begins, assisted by several professional cleaners. During this process, which takes up the bulk of the show, Kim and Aggie share tips for tackling particular cleaning tasks with the residents (and the viewers), often relying on traditional methods rather than expensive commercial cleaning products.

During the cleaning, Aggie takes swab samples from the filthiest areas of the house and has them analysed in a lab, often revealing numerous kinds of bacteria, frequently E. coli or salmonella. Often residents of the home have health problems that directly stem from the air quality or pathogens present before cleaning; Aggie will show these residents her findings in an effort to make them understand the connection between their health and their home's condition. The famed "Mead Household" episode being an example of this.

The final section of the show has Aggie and Kim unveiling the freshly cleaned home to the resident. In earlier episodes, Kim and Aggie would return to the home several weeks later to see if the cleaning was being maintained.

The show makes a point of thoroughly cleaning carpets and furniture the resident owns, and not replacing dirty or worn items just for the sake of the final reveal.

Kim takes the role of a dominating woman, scolding residents for letting their homes get so bad. She is sometimes playfully flirtatious with male residents. In contrast, Aggie (whose previous jobs included Associate Editor in Good Housekeeping and working for MI6[1]) assumes the more serious, subdued "dirt detective" role, performing such tasks as the bacterial analysis. She plays at being more squeamish than Kim, claiming that she will be sick or run away from a particularly horrific home. While cleaning, both Kim and Aggie wear trademark white suits and rubber gloves adorned with marabou feathers and fake gemstones. The duo have become well known in the UK, to the extent that they are almost always referred to as just Kim and Aggie.

Actor Paul Copley provides tongue-in-cheek, often alliterative voice-over narration for each UK episode. The US version has similar narration, provided by an American voice-over actor.

The show is light-hearted and often camp, falling just as much into the entertainment category than the factual genre. Much of the appeal comes from the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing how untidy some people let their houses become (many have not been cleaned for years) and the reactions of the show's two stars, though the cleaning tips add some practical value to the show.

DVD & VHS Releases[edit]

A DVD Release Of How Clean Is Your House? was Released In the UK on 8 November 2004.[2]

A VHS Release Of How Clean Is Your House? Was Released In the UK on 8 November 2004.[3]

A DVD Release Of How Clean Is Your House? USA Seasons 1 & 2 Was Released In the US on 4 March 2008.[4]

Adaptations[edit]

The format has been adapted to many other countries. A United States version, starring the original Kim and Aggie, premiered in September 2004 on the Lifetime network and ran for 2 seasons. This edition also airs in the UK on Channel 4. This version has been criticized for using product placement such as Mr Clean and Bounty instead of the homemade cleaners that the UK version uses[5] Both the UK & US versions air in Canada on the W Network and Australia on cable television channel UK.TV. The UK and US versions currently air in the United States on BBC America.

A Dutch version titled 'Hoe schoon is jouw huis?' (a literal translation of the original English title) has been made with two Dutch ladies performing the same role as Kim and Aggie do in the original. The show aired on the commercial RTL-4 channel and has been re-run on RTL-5. The show is a perfect[citation needed] copy of the British show. The original series is also aired on Dutch TV under the Dutch name.

A French version titled "C'est du Propre !" airs on M6 and on other channels of the M6 group (Téva, W9). The French "cleaning ladies" are Danièle Odin and Béatrice de Malembert. Two tie-in books have been published.

A spin-off book, How Clean Is Your House?, written by Kim and Aggie, was published in 2003. FreemantleMedia has also signed licensing and merchandising deals with many cleaning product manufacturers and other companies.

In 2004, Kim and Aggie did a version of the series called Too Posh to Wash about the personal hygiene of wealthy people, including one participant who had never washed her bra. They also did a one-off special, When Kim & Aggie Went to Hospital, which aired 30 August 2006, about how to keep our hospitals clean. In this hour-long special, the pair traveled to Ealing Hospital, which has often been criticized for poor hygiene conditions and regularly finishes at the bottom of the NHS Hospital League Tables.

Final series[edit]

The sixth and final series aired in the UK on Channel 4 from 13 August - 24 September 2009, and was also broadcast in High Definition on Channel 4 HD. Primarily the same format as previous UK editions, Kim and Aggie continue to seek out "the UK's filthiest homes", however, the program was promoted as delving far deeper into the psyche of the home owners. In addition, the two-week "check-up" was omitted from the show's formula.

In November 2009, Channel 4 announced that they had decided to end the series after six years as part of its ongoing "creative renewal" for programming. Channel 4's head of programming, Julian Bellamy, said the series had been one of several "huge hits" for the channel, but that his focus was now on "finding the next generation of groundbreaking shows".[6]

International versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aggie MacKenzie Aberdeen Kim and Aggie How Clean Is Your House
  2. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0002XOZ4M/
  3. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0002XOZ3S
  4. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00114UUAO
  5. ^ http://www.amazon.com/review/R3ULLMJE61V9EB/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00114UUAO&nodeID=2625373011&store=movies-tv
  6. ^ The Guardian - Channel 4 axes How Clean Is Your House? (12 Nov 2009)

External links[edit]