Kevin McCloud

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Kevin McCloud

McCloud pictured at Piccadilly Circus in 2014
Born (1959-05-08) 8 May 1959 (age 64)
Bedfordshire, England
EducationCorpus Christi College, Cambridge
Occupation(s)Author, broadcaster, TV presenter, designer
Known forGrand Designs (1999–present)
Suzanna McCloud
(m. 1996; sep.  2019)

Kevin McCloud, MBE (born 8 May 1959) is a British designer, writer, and television presenter. He has presented the Channel 4 series Grand Designs since its debut in April 1999.

Early life[edit]

Born in Bedfordshire, McCloud and his two brothers, Terence and Graham, were raised in a house his parents had built.[1] McCloud attended Dunstable Grammar School, which became Manshead comprehensive,[2] and after his A levels, went to work on a farm in Tuscany and study singing at the Conservatory of Music in Florence for a year.[3][4] Although he was offered a three-year course in Italy, he was persuaded to return to take up a place at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he studied languages before changing to philosophy and finally settling on the history of art and architecture.[4][5] He was a member of the Footlights comedy ensemble at Cambridge alongside Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, working as a costume and set designer for the troupe.[6]


After graduating, McCloud trained as a theatre designer, working on a wide variety of different productions, such as the set design for experimental rock group Harvey and the Wallbangers, before setting up his own lighting design practice and manufacturing business 'McCloud Lighting' – at one point employing 26 people.[1] His work includes the carved and painted rococo-style vegetable ceiling in the food halls at Harrods, many projects in conjunction with J.J. Desmond Interiors and lighting fittings at Ely Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the Savoy Hotel and the Dorchester Hotel.[7] Today he concentrates on television work, journalism and product design, including work for British manufacturers.


McCloud's first book, Kevin McCloud's Decorating Book, was published in 1990. The Techniques of Decorating and Kevin McCloud's Lighting Book were published in 1995, The Complete Decorator in 1996, Choosing Colours in 2003, Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint in 2006, and 43 Principles of Home: Enjoying Life in the 21st Century in 2010.


McCloud's first appearance on television was as a guest presenter on Homefront on BBC Two. In 1999, he then went on to write and present Grand Designs, a programme covering unusual and elaborate architectural homebuilding projects, produced by Talkback Thames, which is now in its twenty-second series.[8]

He also wrote and presented Grand Designs Indoors and Grand Designs Abroad. In the course of the later series, McCloud demonstrated his fluency in French and Italian, occasionally acting as a translator for people who had houses built abroad in places where they didn't know the language. He is also editor-at-large for Grand Designs magazine, and sat on the steering committee for the associated exhibition "Grand Designs Live" in 2005 and 2006.

McCloud speaking at the 2009 Grand Designs LIVE in Birmingham

In May 2008, McCloud took the Grand Designs series of programmes to a new level with Grand Designs Live, in which he demonstrated environmentally-sensitive construction methods on a site in the East End of London, as well as presenting a "Grand Design of the Year" competition. His co-presenters included Dave Gorman, Janet Street-Porter, Naomi Cleaver, Diarmuid Gavin and Bill Bailey.

Other TV work has included Don't Look Down, in which McCloud examined the construction of tall buildings while climbing them, on BBC Two in 2000, Demolition on Channel 4 in 2005, The Stirling Prize: Building of the Year (in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008), and Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan on Channel 4 in August 2008.

On 30 November 2008, he appeared as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car on Top Gear. He finished with a time of 1:45.87, second on the leaderboard behind Jay Kay, who finished with 1:45.83.[9]

McCloud presented Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour on Channel 4 during the late summer and early autumn of 2009. The four-part series saw McCloud retracing the popular tour of European cities and sites of classical antiquity undertaken over the last four centuries by upper class, primarily British, young men of means, and describing their subsequent impact on British customs and architecture.

In January 2010, McCloud fronted a two-part documentary, Kevin McCloud: Slumming It, detailing a two-week stay in Mumbai's Dharavi slum.[10] In 2011, McCloud appeared on an episode of Carpool.

In September 2012, McCloud presented Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home on Channel 4, a four-part series where he constructed a cabin in the woods, with an emphasis on sustainable, locally sourced and environmentally responsible materials and techniques. In 2013, the cabin was moved to the seaside near Watchet on the Somerset coast to film a second four-part series of the show with a more "beach shack" theme. In August 2013, McCloud took part in the Blue Anchor to Minehead RNLI Raft Race, as part of the filming of the series. His raft got 20 yards off shore before being towed the rest of the way.[citation needed]

In June 2015, McCloud fronted Escape to the Wild. He went to four different British families around the world who have left Britain behind to a life in far-flung remote destinations. One on a desert island in the south Pacific nation of Tonga, one near a volcano in Chile, one in the middle of a jungle in Belize and the final family was a couple in Jämtland in Sweden. He followed the daily lives of the families and uncovered how they perform daily tasks from securing food and water to using the toilet.[citation needed]

McCloud's television series Kevin McCloud's Rough Guide to the Future, released in 2020, is a three-part series on Channel 4 featuring Alice Levine, Jon Richardson and Phil Wang. The three comedians are sent around the world to take a light-hearted look at some of the planet's biggest issues and the technology that could offer solutions.[11]

In 2020, McCloud narrated Celebrity Snoop Dogs, which gave viewers a chance to see inside celebrities' homes via a camera attached to the celebrities' dogs.[12]


Kevin McCloud with then Minister for Housing Grant Shapps on the site of his development, The Triangle, in Swindon in 2010

In early 2007 he created HAB Housing Limited, ("Happiness, Architecture, Beauty"). McCloud led a consortium to purchase two plots of land to build a HAB housing development on the outskirts of Swindon, Wiltshire.[13]

In October 2009, it was announced that HAB Oakus, a joint venture between HAB and housing group GreenSquare, had won planning permission for its first housing scheme in Swindon. The 42-home scheme, called The Triangle, would occupy the site of a former caravan park.[14] Housing will be "environmentally sustainable, affordable". The Homes And Communities Agency, a UK national housing and regeneration agency, had already announced in April 2010 that it would back the plans by contributing £2.5m.[15] Construction of the development was completed late in 2011. The process was filmed and broadcast as part of a Grand Designs special two-part episode called Kevin's Grand Design. A website was set up about the project.[16]

In September 2013, HAB broke the world record for equity crowdfunding by securing investments in excess of £1.9 million from members of the public via online platform Crowdcube, beating the previous record of £1.5 million with pledges of £1,904,540.[17]

In August 2019 it was reported that no money has been paid back to HAB investors who faced potentially losing 97% of their investment. Problems with other schemes he promoted were also reported.[18]


In 2005, McCloud was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Design from both Oxford Brookes and Plymouth University. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006 and of the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) in 2009. McCloud was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to sustainable design and energy-saving property refurbishment.[19]

Personal life[edit]

McCloud formerly lived in Frome in Somerset,[20] with his then wife Suzanna McCloud. They have two children together, Milo and Elsie. McCloud also has two children from previous relationships, Hugo and Grace. He separated from Suzanna McCloud after 23 years together in December 2019.[21][22]


He endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party's Caroline Lucas[23] in the 2015 UK General Election.

In October 2023, on Times Radio, he endorsed the Green Party and specifically Ellie Chowns' candidacy, in his home county of Herefordshire.[24]


  1. ^ a b Building sight The Observer – 2 November 2003
  2. ^ Lacey, Hester (27 January 2012). "The Inventory: Kevin McCloud". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  3. ^ Kevin McCloud Facts, BBC South Africa, April 2010, archived from the original on 29 May 2014
  4. ^ a b Saner, Emine (13 September 2021). "'I would never spend that much on a kitchen!': Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud on money, ambition – and expensive mistakes". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Law, Roz (12 September 2010). "7 things you never knew about Kevin McCloud". Birmingham Mail.
  6. ^ Wiggins, Dan (14 July 2021). "Channel 4 Grand Designs: Kevin McCloud's life before TV". MyLondon.
  7. ^ "Programmes – Most Popular – All 4". Channel 4.
  8. ^ Donna Ferguson (20 October 2013). "Kevin McCloud: 'I've been unlucky with property'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  9. ^ Top Gear Series 12, Episode 5 2008.11.30
  10. ^ "Series information, Channel 4 website".
  11. ^ "Kevin McCloud's Rough Guide to the Future – everything you need to know about". Radio Times. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Who is the Celebrity Snoop Dogs narrator? Channel 4 icon provides VoiceOver". 26 June 2020.
  13. ^ Green living at Grand Designs The Sunday Times – 7 October 2007
  14. ^ Swindon go ahead for Hab Building Design Online – 15 October 2009
  15. ^ HCA funding Kevin McCloud's Swindon sustainable housing Archived 15 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine Homes and Community Agency – 1 April 2010
  16. ^ "HAB – Our Mission". Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  17. ^ Andrews, Kate (30 September 2013). "Design-led housing developer breaks world record for equity crowdfunding". Dezeen. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  18. ^ Jones, Rupert; Collinson, Patrick (22 August 2019). "Investors in Kevin McCloud's projects told they face huge losses". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 21.
  20. ^ "Somerset Celebrities". Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  21. ^ "Grand Designs: Who is presenter Kevin McCloud dating?". HELLO!. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Meet Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud's four children". HELLO!. 12 October 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  23. ^ Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  24. ^ Garvey, Jane (host); Glover, Fi (host) (4 October 2023). "But we've already humped? (with Kevin McCloud)". Off Air... with Jane and Fi. Episode 210. Event occurs at 28:04. Times Radio – via Acast. Fi: "I know that in 2015 you endorsed the Green Party, whose candidate at the time was Caroline Lucas, no longer available to you. So in this coming election, would you be prepared to endorse a political party for their green credentials?" Kevin: "Yeah, in as much as I live in Herefordshire and we have a potential candidate here, Ellie Chowns. So, yeah, I'll be supporting her. Yeah, of course!"

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