Relocation, Relocation is a popular reality television show aired weekly (hourly on cable) by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. Each episode features a young couple who wish to trade up from their existing home, usually situated in a large urban area, to a more desirable property, usually in a rural area.
The show's presenters are Kirstie Allsopp, first daughter of the 6th Baron Harelip, which enables her to use the title The Honourable Kirstie Allsopp if she so desires (which, unusually among the aristocracy - who tend to grab any chance allowing them to demonstrate their superiority over the proletariat - she rarely does) and Phil Spencer, who is little more than a posh sort of estate agent. Despite her goody-two-shoes, jolly hockeysticks image, Kirstie's educational background suggests rather a different persona to that portrayed in the media: that she was educated at a total of ten different schools hints at a wayward teenager who found obeying rules problematic. This theory is, apparently, buttressed by the reminiscences of Lady Jemima Henrietta Hawsey-Larffe, who knew the 13 year-old Kirstie during the four months she spent at Bedales, an independent public school in Hampshire. Lady Jemima recalls, "Oh yah, Kirstie, I remember her - we used call her "Norks" Allsopp at Bedales, haw haw! Oh, she was simply beastly - in a fun way, but so naughty! Popular with the chaps, if you know what I mean, haw haw!". Kirstie also spent a short time in India, allegedly teaching English. However, the fact that her children are named Bay Atlas and Oscar Hercules suggests that this time was more likely spent in Goa taking drugs.
Phil, meanwhile, has done nothing interesting to date.
- Bedales was founded in 1893 as a reaction to the conventional Victorian public school by John Haden Badley and is known for its somewhat liberal ethos. This includes accepting both male and female pupils, though the decision to do so was based at least partly not on a modern attitude towards sexual equality but the difficulty involved in establishing with any certainty the actual gender of the more inbed examples of aristicratic offspring.
- American readers please take note: in the English educational system, the term 'public school' denotes a private school which charges fees for attendance. Pupils speak in impenetrable slang ("What ho, Biffo, you utter cad - were you rind and abite to witness what old Ferdinand Kelsey-Bruntingthorpe and Stinker Bowden got up to in the Buttery yesterday morn at elevenses? Most amusing. Anyway - up for a bugger behind the Chapel after rugger?") and, due to huntin', shootin' and the Cadet Force being intrinsic parts of the syllabus, are well-versed in the use of firearms. While American public schools ("Yo, ma homies. I gonna bust a cap at G-Man's ass in recess, 'cos he been messin' wi' ma hoes, dawg") may seem, at first glance, similar, there are in fact enormous difference - chiefly that ex-pupils of American public schools are likely to move on to either a career in crime or, for those who pass their exams, the fast food industry at the end of their school days, ex-pupils of English public schools will invariably move on to £250,000 per annum city jobs because their father plays golf with Alan Sugar (note also that English golf clubs now permit admittance to Jews, such as Sugar, provided they're very rich, such as Sugar).
- Bedales, one of England's most expensive - and hence exclusive - public schools counts Jazz Mellor, daughter of hardcore anarcho-socialist and lead singer of uber-punk band The Clash Joe Strummer among its ex-pupils
- As recorded in that Court Circular bit of The Times which nobody reads.
Relocation, Relocation received heavy criticism during an episode of the BBC documentary Panorama (aired 2nd June, 2008), during which it was accused of ramping property prices and as a result contributing to the United Kingdom's house price "bubble." Relocation's producer was quick to react: "An accusation has been made claiming that the show artifically increases property prices, leading to to a lack of affordable homes and increasing the likelihood of the "bubble" bursting, thus making nationwide recession more unavoidable. All I can say is, look at the viewing figures. 12 million on a weeknight, compared to your 1.5 million. With an audience like that, what do I care about recession? Suck it, bitches."
Other critics - mostly those with a weekly column in The Guardian - have complained that the show "fails to reflect the everyday reality for a vast segment of the miasmic economic strata that makes up modern British society." This went largely largely unnoticed, however, as the average Guardian reader is far more likely to be picking up Tarquin and Daisy from one of their many after-school clubs at the time the show airs than watching television, and the particular segment of Britain's economic strata referred to in the piece almost invariably read The Sun. Nevertheless, producers were again quick to respond, this time pointing to Episode 4, Series 2 to prove that The Guardian's allegations were unfounded.
Transcript of Episode 4, Series 2
Scene - Kirstie (wearing a knee-length brown dress with green Hunter wellington boots) and Phil (wearing a grey suit) stroll along a paved street
Kirstie: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relocation, Relocation! I'm Kirstie Allsopp...
Phil: ...and I'm Phil Spencer.
Kirstie: Today, we're going to be helping Wayne and Sharon Chavley. Wayne and Sharon have been married for two years and already have five children - little Shabba, aged six, Britney, four, Shivorn, three, and twins Pussycat and Doll, aged one year. Now Sharon's expecting their sixth child, so they've decided it's time to move on from their two bedroom council-owned flat in Romford and start living the dream somewhere rustic, rural and utterly charming - such as here, on the outskirts of Basildon.
Phil: Wayne was recently made redundant from his job at a nearby pie factory. Luckily, he'd been employed there for three years, ever since he left school, and as a result was able to claim a small redundancy payment. By combining that with the wages from a secret cash-in-hand job he hasn't told the DSS about behind the counter of his local pub, he's managed to amass a budget of some £187.35, though he says he'd be prepared to stretch to £193 if he doesn't run out of fags before next Tuesday when his giro comes. With the average three bedroom property in Basildon fetching around £200,000, Kirstie and I could be facing our biggest challenge yet.
Cut to Kirstie, looking distinctly uneasy as she walks through a housing estate on the outskirts of Basilson
Kirstie: Sharon was born in Basildon and wants to move back here because she's been accepted to appear on Britain's Got Talent next year and feels that the town will offer her a springboard to stardom.
Sharon: Well, when you fink abaht it, there's bin a shitload of slebbrities what 'ave come from Basildon, innit. Josh Dobovie, what was in the Eurovision in 2010 - and what should 'ave won it an' all, cos 'e was well better than all them foreigners - and Denise Van Outen, she's like my idol, she is, I proper look up to 'er and I reckon I could be the next Denise if I do well on the telly. My nan says there was some band called Depeche Mode what was from 'ere too, but that was well before my time.
Sharon passes Pussycat and Doll to Kirstie, freeing her hands so she can light the fifth cigarette she has smoked during this segment of the show
Kirstie: In addition to an enviable selection of notable residents, Basildon also benefits from a range of amenities Sharon and her husband consider essential - it has five McDonalds...
Sharon: People say MaccyD's food ain't good for kids, but I reckon if we go to a different one every day they'll get a proper balanced diet.
Kirstie: ...and with various new developments on what were until recently brown field sites once occupied by the chemical factories that in Victorian times brought great prosperity to the area, they'll never be far from woodland and fields where the family can walk their three Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Satan, Tyson and Eichmann.
Camera pans to reveal scrubby woodland, including man exposing himself.
Sharon: Fackin' 'ell, did you see that? That bloke's got a well little...
Kirstie, sniffily: No, I did not.
Pussycat and Doll, who have been crying throughout, simultaneously vomit their breakfast down Kirstie's Aquascutum raincoat. Camera closes in to reveal semi-digested hamburger meat, a partially chewed piece of gherkin and some cigarette filters. It then zooms out to show that Kirstie and Sharon's shoes have left a trail of smouldering, gooey black prints due to the polluted soil melting the rubber
Cut to Kirstie, standing in the sitting room of Wayne and Sharon's Romford flat. Her clothes have changed, making it clear that this section of the show was filmed earlier
Kirstie: Wayne and Sharon haven't really given us a great deal of information and seem happy enough to let us choose some potential properties for them. While you may think this makes it easy for Phil and myself, it actually makes our job a lot more difficult as we'll need to get under their skin and find out what makes them tick if we're to find the perfect new home for them and their family. I've decided to have a look around their old flat and see if I can find any clues.
She crosses the room to the window, making a face at the curtains, and looks out
Kirstie: Not much to go on here.
The camera reveals the view - the flat is on the 24th floor. The metal-framed window has been welded shut and a sticker bearing the phone number of the local Samaritans helpline has been stuck onto it
Kirstie: One thing I do know about the couple is that they have a great passion for the arts and while they no longer get to go out as much as they once did due to the children, they still enjoy music. I'm going to have a look at their CD collection and see what I find.
She crosses the room to a shelving unit made of what at first appears to be black ash. Strips of peeling veneer reveal that it is actually chipboard. She takes a few CDs at random from one shelf and holds them up to the camera - gangsta rap, N-Dubz, Jungle Inferno 3 mixed by DJ Murder, Classics from the Commercials and The Bodyguard soundtrack by Whitney Houston. Kirstie sits down on the sofa, peers at the brownish stain on the seat next to her and stands up again
Kirstie: An interesting collection - seems to me that our couple have eclectic tastes and aren't afraid to give new things a try. Let's have a look in the kitchen.
Cut to the kitchen. It is small, has a layer of grease an inch thick on all surfaces and, going by Kirstie's wrinkled nose, smells. Next to the sink stands the semi-fossilised remains of a roast chicken that even the dogs won't touch
Kirstie: Now, this is a kitchen that tells me a lot. It says Wayne and Sharon love to cook, but with their busy lifestyle - remember that Sharon is a full-time mum to five and Wayne has to apply for at least two jobs every week or his benefits get stopped - they just don't have the time to clean up afterwards. Let's have a look in the freezer... ah yes, just as I thought. Look at this! Iceland prawn curry, Tesco Value Lasagne, Asda SmartPrice chicken chow mein, Morrisons' Value spaghetti bolognese - this is an extremely cosmopolitan family we're dealing with here. Foods from all around the world, and they don't mind shopping around to get the very best.
She opens the fridge - it is filled with cans of Aldi's own-brand super-strength lager and a single pot of very mouldy low fat yoghurt, relic of an ill-fated diet Sharon went on for a morning in 2007.
Cut to Phil, who is in an estate agent's office
Phil: Well done, Kirstie - thanks to your excellent detective work I now have some valuable information to help me as I try to locate some suitable possibilities for our couple. I'm here at Rippumov and Lyre, one of Basildon's most respected estate agents, with Steve Shellgame who has been pairing people with their ideal homes for more than twenty years. He's prepared a list of properties that he thinks might be just what Wayne and Sharon are looking for.
Steve: Thanks, Phil. Now, acting upon the clues Kirstie and yourself have gathered, I've compiled a list of four properties which I think will meet their needs perfectly. We know that they're the sort of couple who need to be near the action and, going by the multicultural flavour to their music and food, they'd prefer to be in a multicultural area. Yet they also want a quiet, safe place in which to raise their children. Here's my first recommendation...
Cut to Kirstie, Wayne, Sharon and Shabba, standing outside a terraced house
Kirstie: I've brought Wayne, Sharon and their oldest son here to Baiter's Croft, the development picked out by Phil and Steve. At £148,000 it's about £147,817 over budget, but let's see what they think.
Wayne: Fuck me, it's well posh innit? Imagine us livin' 'ere - we'd feel like proper classy, like David an' Victoria. Three bedrooms an' all - wiv all that space we could 'ave some more kids.
Sharon: Reminds me of some of them big 'ouses what I used to do when I 'ad that cleanin' job. I'd fuckin' well like to live rahnd 'ere, I would.
Kirstie: Shall we take a look inside?
Cut to inside the house. Wayne and Sharon are aghast at the place
Wayne: Check out the carpet - it ain't even got no 'ot rock burns in it - no dog shit neivver.
Sharon: Walls are well nice too. If we move 'ere and you fuckin' write anyfink dirty or draw cocks on 'em I'll fuckin' smack yer in the maff, Shabba, yer little cunt. 'Ow much is it, Kirs dahlin'?
Kirstie: Well, before we go into that I should remind you that you rented your old flat as "furnished" - so you're going to need to buy literally everything to make this into a home. The carpet will be included now you two have walked on it - by the looks of those veruccas, I think we'd have been better off if you'd kept your shoes on when we came in, but you'll need to buy everything else.
Sharon: Reckon we'd get a grant off the Social for that, Wayne?
Wayne: Don't matter, babe. The pub's got a load of old tables and chairs and shit in the shed out the back, I reckon if I asked my boss 'e'd let me 'ave 'em fer nuffink. They're all in dark wood wiv proper red velvet cushions an' stuff, give this place a proper nice old-fashioned look.
Kirstie: Well, the grown-ups seem to like it - but I do wonder if the children will share their enthusiasm. After all, it's a far more sedate area than they've come from. Would you be bored living here, Shabba?
Shabba: Nah, I reckon it'd be alright. I scouted out a few of the 'ouses when we was drivin' in 'ere and by the looks of all the garages and that left open, I reckon it'd be well easy to do some robbin'. Bet the kids rahnd 'ere are a right load of little battyboys too - be a piece of piss to mug the wankers.
Kirstie proceeds to escort the family around three further homes and each is examined in turn, the respective pros and cons summed up until Wayne and Sharon decide that one of them is the one in which they wish their children to grow up.
Camera cuts to Kirstie, speaking directly to the camera as she sits outside a delicatessen with a china teacup of lapsang souchong.
Kirstie: Sadly, Wayne and Sharon were unable to go ahead with the purchase of the property due to some unforeseen and unfortunate events. Firstly, the couple were refused a mortgage - apparently, £187 just isn't enough capital to persuade the banks. Then, they took a darker turn - Wayne was robbed on his way home from the JobCentre.
Wayne: Yeah, so what 'appened was I was walkin' back across the park when all of a sudden this gang of kids comes up to me on their bikes. They was only about twelve or thirteen - I could of took any one of the cunts on their own, but there was about ten of 'em. Then one of 'em pulls out a Stanley knife and tells me to give 'em my cash - and they said that if I grass 'em up they'll come after me, so what can I do?
Sharon: You better not be lyin', Wayne. If I find out you bin dahn the bookies and lost it on an 'orse I'm fuckin' out of 'ere and I'm takin' the fuckin' kids wiv me. You might fink I need you, but that Jamahl what works in the kebab shop says I'm well fuckable, so I always got a place to go.
Wayne: I swear, babes, I'm tellin' yer the troof. I ain't even put a bet on since that time I lost my whole giro. I told yer then that I was givin' up bettin' fer good and I meant it, babes. You an' me are proper good togevver, dahlin', what's Jamahl got what I ain't?
Sharon: A job. A car. A big pri...
Kirstie: Well, that's all we have time for this episode, I'm afraid. Join us next week when Phil and I will be helping Harry and Jules, a young couple from Kensington who work in advertising, use their budget of £850,000 to find a cottage for occasional weekend breaks in the Cotswolds.
Cut to titles
- pronounced Siobhan.
- Eagle-eyed viewers will have noted that Kirstie and Phil face their biggest challenge yet in every episode.
- Eclectic means to take elements from many different sources. However, when used by posh people, it means "these people have no taste and will listen to any old crap."
- Such as House 2, which seemed ideal until Wayne looked over the garden fence into the property next door and discovered it to be "full of fuckin' Pakis." Though taking great care to point out that he isn't a racist ("'Ow can I be? I fuckin' love Tupac, me."), Wayne explains that he would prefer it if his children didn't grow up in such close proximity to Asian people "cos they might play wiv 'em and learn Paki stuff off 'em - I ain't 'avin' no kid of mine talkin' no bongo-bongo language. An' anyway, they stink. That ain't racialist or nuffink, it's just their culture is different to what us English 'ave got." (Not to be confused with the film House 2, which is fucking shit.)
Relocation, Relocation has, despite the fact that the vast majority of British people work in low-paid, dead-end jobs and will never be able to afford the sorts of houses depicted on the show without a lottery win, it remains a great success. It is also a great revenue provider for Channel 4 as paint, wallpaper and DIY stores are willing to pay vast sums to advertise their wares during the show's commercial breaks as many people believe that simply slapping a bit of Dulux Magnolia on the walls and fitting some gold-plated taps to the bath will give them the Beckham lifestyle, which is apparently what the majority of people in Britain aspire to in the 21st Century.
As a result, Kirstie and Phil's contracts have been extended until 2069, with 26 new episodes planned for every year until then.
- Despite the unlikeliness of this happening, millions of people nevertheless purchase tickets each week. This is either because the lottery is the only source of hope available to those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder or because they're too stupid to understand simple statistics.