Grand Designs

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Grand Designs
Grand Designs (title card).jpg
Presented byKevin McCloud
Opening theme"Grand Designs"
by David Lowe
Ending theme"Grand Designs"
by David Lowe
No. of series23
No. of episodes212 (list of episodes)
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesTalkback (1999–2006)
Talkback Thames (2006–2011)
Boundless (2012–2020)
Naked Television (2021–)
Original networkChannel 4
Picture format
Original release29 April 1999 (1999-04-29) –
RelatedGrand Designs: RIBA House of the Year

Grand Designs is a British television series produced by Boundless and broadcast on Channel 4 which features unusual and often elaborate architectural homebuilding projects.

The programme has been presented by Kevin McCloud since it first aired in April 1999, and more than 200 episodes have been broadcast in twenty-three series.


Episodes generally follow a regular format, with small variations depending on the progress of the build. At the beginning of an episode, McCloud meets the clients embarking on the project; he visits the site with them, and discusses the plans for the building. A computer visualisation or computer-aided design view of the intended project is shown. Once ground work commences, he visits the site periodically, following the build progress, noting any changes, hitches or delays; the build frequently runs over budget and completes later than scheduled. McCloud will often do a piece to camera concentrating on any unique materials or features in the house. He visits again once the building is made watertight, and the first and second fixes have commenced. He makes a final visit to the site in its finished or near-finished state, once the occupants have moved in. A tour of the house is then given; McCloud brings the episode to a close summarising the house, its construction, and his opinions.

If a house is not completed before filming finishes, it will sometimes be revisited in a later episode. In more recent series, McCloud revisits past unfinished builds once they have been completed and may stay overnight.

The properties featured in Grand Designs are hugely varied in style and design, from underground homes to converted water towers to buildings constructed in methods of sustainable architecture; the only common factor is that they are all unusual or extravagant. The most popular programme of the series for both Kevin McCloud and viewers was Ben Law's home with a sweet chestnut frame made from his own woodland, and costing very little.[1] This was broadcast as episode 3 of series 3.[2]

Episodes and spin-offs[edit]

The first episode of Grand Designs aired on 29 April 1999. Since then over two hundred episodes have been produced and broadcast in twenty three series to date. The Grand Designs brand has also grown in this time with a number of spin-off shows also being made:

  • Grand Designs Indoors
a lesser known spin-off, with the same format. As the name suggests the series concentrated on the interior transformation of these properties. Only containing six episodes, this series was broadcast in 2001.
  • Grand Designs Abroad
focused on properties outside the United Kingdom and was broadcast in 2004.
  • Grand Designs Revisited
episodes where McCloud visits a previously featured house, recaps the build and then looks at how the house has settled in to its surroundings and how the owners have settled in. The episodes are generally included in the Grand Designs seasons, but can be promoted as a separate show.[3] The Co-Op revisited, twice, the Hedgehog Self-Build Co-operative, began in 1996.[4]
  • Grand Designs Trade Secrets
a spin-off broadcast for two seasons immediately after the main Channel 4 show each week for series seven and eight of Grand Designs. Acting as a companion piece, it gave hints and tips about building and showed some "behind the scenes" material from that week's show.
  • Grand Designs Live and Grand Designs Live: Today
one-hour daily programmes broadcast for nine days during the Grand Designs Live 2008 event in London.
A 2-episode special on McCloud's development of a caravan park into a 44 unit 'FAB' housing estate.
hosted by Chris Moller, premiered on 4 October 2015 in New Zealand on TV3. The first season consisted of 8 x 60 minutes episodes.[6][7] The second season premiered on 25 September 2016 and also consisted of 8 x 60 minutes episodes.[8] A third season of eight episodes aired in 2017.[9]
  • Grand Designs: RIBA House of the Year
Launched in 2015, McCloud is joined by Damion Burrows and Zac Monro, as they explore some of Britain's most cutting-edge homes, all of them in the running for the prestigious prize.
  • Grand Designs: The Street
McCloud[10] follows ten households constructing their own homes, on a plot of ex-Ministry of Defence land,[11] as part of creating a new street in a self-build project, Graven Hill near Bicester in Oxfordshire.[12] Aired in the first half of 2019 on Channel 4. Two more series have been commissioned.[13]
  • Grand Designs Sweden 2020[14]


The original Grand Designs series has been released on DVD in the United Kingdom, however the DVD series numbers do not match the television series as some houses are excluded, and the DVDs do not include "revisited" episodes, where there is only a few minutes of new footage. Instead, the new footage from these episodes is included as an extra on the older DVDs.

  • Grand Designs: The Complete Series 1 (two-disc set, released 2 September 2009)
  • Grand Designs: The Complete Series 2 (two-disc set, released 30 September 2009)
  • Grand Designs: The Complete Series 3 (two-disc set, released 5 November 2009)
  • Grand Designs: Series 4 (two-disc set, released 19 March 2009)
  • Grand Designs: Series 5 (five-disc set, released 6 August 2009, corresponds to TV series 5, 6 and 7)
  • Grand Designs: Series 6 (two-disc set, released 1 April 2010, corresponds to TV series 8)
  • Grand Designs: Series 7 (two-disc set, released 7 August 2010, corresponds to TV series 9)
  • Grand Designs: Series 8 (two-disc set, released 5 September 2011, corresponds to TV series 10)
  • Grand Designs: Series 9 (two-disc set, released 15 October 2012, corresponds to TV series 11)
  • Grand Designs: Series 10 (two-disc set, released 30 September 2013, corresponds to TV series 12)

The Australian release of the original Grand Designs series differs from the UK releases, in that they do not include any "revisited" footage at all.

  • Grand Designs Australia: Series 1 (three-disc set, released 4 August 2011, corresponds to TV series 1)[15]


Grand Designs Live ambassadors Jo Hamilton and George Clarke compete in a 'cook-off'

Grand Designs Live takes place biannually, in London in the spring and in Birmingham in the autumn. The exhibitions display contemporary design and technology for the home and garden, with stands for suppliers and manufacturers to promote their goods and services. Design and media personalities McCloud, George Clarke and Jo Hamilton are show ambassadors.

The nine-day Grand Designs Live 2008 event, held at London's ExCeL, attracted over 100,000 visitors. To accompany the event Channel 4 broadcast two live daily programmes directly from the show, Grand Designs Live: Today and Grand Designs Live.

Grand Designs Live launched in Australia in Sydney on 21–23 October 2011.[16] It launched in Melbourne on 21–23 September 2012 and returned to Sydney on 5–7 October 2012.[needs update][17]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The programme has been nominated a number of times in the BAFTA Features category and won in 2015.[18]

Year Award Category Recipient Results Ref.
2000 BAFTA TV Awards Features Daisy Goodwin, John Silver Nominated [18]
2004 John Silver, Daisy Goodwin, Kevin McCloud Nominated [18]
2008 BAFTA TV Craft Awards Director – Factual Livia Russell Nominated [18]
2013 BAFTA TV Awards Features Production Team Nominated [19]
2014 Kevin McCloud, Fiona Caldwell, Rob Gill, John Lonsdale Nominated [20]
2015 Production Team Won [21]

Pop culture references[edit]

Irish singer Orla Gartland referenced the show in her song "Heavy" with the lyric "I just wanna hang with you and watch Grand Designs".

In The IT Crowd episode Bad Boys, Moss shoplifts several copies of the same Grand Design DVD from a mall store.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sarah Lonsdale. "Kevin McCloud: Most Grand Designs are too big and too bright". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Grand Designs – Episode Guide – All 4". Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Grand Designs Revisited (TV Series)". Radio Times.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Archived 2 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Grand Designs New Zealand". Architecture Now. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Grand Designs NZ". Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Grand Designs New Zealand: Complete Episode List". Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Grand Designs New Zealand - All 4".
  10. ^ "Kevin McCloud picks his Grand Designs: The Street highlights".
  11. ^ Kelly, Guy (4 April 2019). "What happened when 10 Grand Designs were built on one street".
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Grand Designs Australia Now on DVD! – Lifestyle Channel". Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Grand Designs Australia Live Sydney 2011". Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Grand Designs Australia Live is Coming to Melbourne". Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d "BAFTA Awards Search". BAFTA.
  19. ^ "Bafta TV awards 2013: List of winners". BBC. 12 May 2013.
  20. ^ "Bafta TV awards 2014: Winners in full". BBC. 18 May 2014.
  21. ^ Hannah Furness (10 May 2015). "BBC's star shows are eclipsed at the Bafta Television awards 2015". The Daily Telegraph.

External links[edit]