I believe I was asked to review BBC Good Homes because I have just
moved house, which can therefore only mean Campaign wanted someone
bitter, cynical and twisted on the case. But I tried to be balanced - at
least I wasn’t offered Estate Agents Monthly.
As I looked at the magazine, my heart sank as my eye fell upon the cover
inset shot of presenters from a couple of related BBC programmes - a
major reason for producing the mag.
On the introductory leader page readers are punched in the face with key
points bellowed out in double point-sizes. The first was ’front doors’ -
a moment of surrealism - before the familiar territory of ’spark of
inspiration’, ’illuminating ideas’ and ’hot property’ was regained. Oh
I forced myself to plough through plug after plug for BBC programmes,
cunningly interwoven into dull articles. The features are full of ’These
funky buys will bring Anna’s designer flair to your home’ - cue vases
from Habitat and magazines boxes from Ikea.
I suppose what depressed me most was the lack of anything new. The title
is an object lesson in dumbing down and fake designer living. It’s life
by catalogue. The one interesting article, about how to do your own
batik designs, is headlined Hippy Hippy Chic.
BBC Good Homes will probably sell millions of copies and lots of
advertising as well.
The editorial team will have looked at Elle Decoration and Wallpaper and
thought ’we’ll have a bit of that. We’ll promote our programmes, get
advertising revenue and charge pounds 2 for it.’ And they get licence
fee revenue. Perhaps I’m impressed after all.
Nigel Morris is the recently uprooted commercial director of BBJ Media