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Radio 4, written by Johnny Vegas and Stewart Lee

Johnny Vegas is more famous for starring in the sitcom, Benidorm, and PG Tips advertisements than Radio 4 dramas.

But he stars in Interiors, a light comedy about buying and selling a house, as lead character Jeffrey Parkin.

I don’t think it’s unfair to observe that radio dramas are for individuals of a certain generation, namely the older one. If the Archers is your cup of tea you may enjoy this light-hearted take on the trials and tribulations of home buying.

But the appeal for the younger generation is limited because if you’ve never bought a home I would steer clear of spending 45 minutes listening to it. There are some redeeming features, with Vegas providing amusing moments as he gives a tour of his home to prospective buyers.

The production begins with two couples arriving at the same time to view the home. With no estate agent available, Parkin has to show them around and it quickly becomes apparent he is a David Brent figure, making you cringe repeatedly with his observations.

He believes his house, 24 Stanhope Gardens, is a sought-after property but the reality doesn’t live up to his hype.

The prospective buyers are distinctly unimpressed as they find plastic chairs instead of sofas, cheap wood decor and a chimney without a fireplace.

In true Brent-style Parkin inadvertently insults his guests by branding them common and misguided about their views on interior design. His tour includes bizarre details on the merits of negative space, the importance of walls and his idea for a property show called Why.
The show would involve a presenter asking home owners why they decided to make different furnishing choices.

His prospective buyers quickly become frustrated with Parkin’s insults and reflections on property development.

They start whispering to each other about leaving after deciding the house is certainly not for them. But Parkin doesn’t give them a chance to leave.

His delusion can be funny as he describes his home room by room despite the concerns of the couples.

One amusing moment is when Parkin tries to get to grips with a video player.

“I’m a bit of a purist, it’s a bit like vinyl,” he explains.

As they move upstairs the full extent of the problems become apparent as it is revealed radiators need fitting and the carpets need replacing.

Parkin then apologises for the monstrosity of his Ikea flatpack bed, blaming his wife and ranting about the de-personalisation of homes by the Swedish store.

The bed is perhaps the only feature his guests like but their pleasure is short-lived as Parkin shouts out of his bedroom window at a neighbour, informing him they will never be friends.

The show is a caricature of the home-buying process with some amusing moments many buyers can relate to. There will be many buyers who have found hidden problems in a house that looked promising on the outside.

The lack of an estate agent in this show spares the buyers the sales spiel and Parkin can be too honest for his own good when describing his home.

Interiors is an amusing caricature on home buying and if you love radio it’s worth a listen, but if you’re just listening for Vegas’ comedy moments, it may not be enough.

Review by Samuel Dale


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Marketwatch – March 2012

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