TV Times - Faces say too much

CHANNEL 4 seems to be in a permanent state of awe at its own personalities!

The faces fronting the programme seem to be more important to the channel than the concept, or whether or not the personality involved is actually qualified in the subject at hand.

So you get the likes of Heston Blumenthal, looking at food standards at various public places.

But let’s face it – a bloke who charges £160 to taste a selection of his creations, hardly seems the right person to come up with a new affordable snack for cinemas.

Now, somewhat bizarrely, you get property experts like Kirsty Allsop and Phil Spencer doing a holiday programme.

I’ve always liked Kirsty and Phil on Location, Location, Location but their new series Vacation, Vacation, Vacation (Channel 4, Wednesdays, 8pm) just seems like a shameless attempt to keep the popular duo on our screens.

Kirsty and Phil started out when the property market was booming, so the topic they were discussing was as interesting as their interaction.

But as the housing market has followed its path through this recession, the banter between these two now eclipses the property element.

So much so, that Channel 4 recently dedicated an entire night of programming to the pair!

They certainly have a brilliant on-screen relationship, probably the best male-female combination on television.

But that does not automatically mean they should be chosen to front absolutely anything.

Kirsty’s Home-made Home seems a bit of a stretch, seeing as her business is buying and selling homes, not decorating them.

When you have an interest in a specialist programme, you want to feel that the presenters are specialists in that field, not just the flavour of the month at the channel.

But celebrity status rules the roost – and it’s a massive shame.

Just think, if this had been the case 10 years ago when Location, Location, Location started out, it probably wouldn’t have been fronted by the then-unknown Kirsty and Phil.

So we would have been denied the emergence of two stars, back then – which is probably happening right now with some other charismatic expert.

* A more positive aspect of Vacation, Vacation, Vacation is there’s actually a proper prime time travel programme on terrestrial television again.

The last series of note was BBC One’s live series – Departure Lounge in 2005 – fronted by Nick Knowles, in a similar style to the one the increasingly-brilliant Watchdog takes now.

Holiday programmes have always provided a bit of escapism, showing you where you could be going next year – all the way to destinations you could only afford to visit in your wildest dreams.