Selling Sunset minus the sun – and fun

Britain’s Most Expensive Houses suffered from a slightly misleading title. Rather than a whistle-stop countdown of the UK’s most blinged-out abodes, the show, returning for a full season after a one-off episode last year, is in fact a reality series about the challenges of flogging high-value residences to the UK’s mega-wealthy.

In other words, it’s Selling Sunset minus the California therapy-speak and relationship angst. And because it lacked the soap opera component that elevates the Netflix caper to bingeable guilty pleasure the results were somewhat overcast and plodding.

In Berkshire, Sotheby’s International Realty brokers John and Mary visited vast Harford Manor, which they were keen to sell to a French Moroccan billionaire. The house was obviously opulent but also cold and empty – like a luxury hotel on a quiet Monday.

In the capital, Sotheby’s junior broker Leena hoped to entice London-based Russian cosmetic surgeon Anastasia with an apartment at the St Pancras hotel belonging to a unnamed “successful female actor”. Sadly, despite the building’s lobby housing the staircase that featured in the Spice Girls “Wannabe” video, the flat was not what Anastasia really, really wanted and so the search went on.

Where the episode fell down was in not connecting with the audience at an emotional level. But since many of the potential buyers on Britain’s Most Expensive Houses were variations on the top-hatted millionaire stereotype it was hard to care if they landed their dream dwelling.

Either way, they’ll still be better off than the rest of us – a harsh truth that contributed to a rather joyless viewing experience.

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