TelevisionMade possible by

Appointment viewing: Snooping is the ultimate prize in May the Best House Win Abroad

Tara Ward watches May the Best House Win Abroad, the TV One show for houseproud homeowners and snoopy spectators alike.

There’s nowt as queer as folk, especially the houseproud homeowners on British reality show May the Best House Win. Tucked away in TV One’s mid afternoon schedule, May the Best House Win is an hour of pure, unadulterated snooping. It’s basically Come Dine With Me for houses: four people pry into each other’s quirky homes and rate their visit, awarding the highest scoring home owner a cool 1000 Euro.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 6.54.07 PM

Let’s not beat about the bush: it’s low-budget, time wasting television in all it’s mind-numbing glory. And that’s the simple beauty of it.  at the seams and the arms fall off.

Where would we be without daytime gems like May the Best House Win? In trouble, that’s where. Just like we watch Supernanny to convince ourselves we’re not shithouse parents, or Hoarders to prove we’re not really that messy, watching May the Best House Win reassures us that while we all have our domestic eccentricities, most of us aren’t hiding a collection of giant teddy bears in our bathroom.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.42.20 PM

More’s the pity; this show pours glorious rays of northern hemisphere sunshine on a seemingly endless supply of weird and wonderful British homeowners. And so to Vienne, France, to meet this episode’s four contestants. First up is Angie, a former colonic irrigation technician who bought her entire home furnishings from Ebay, including an suit of armour called Gilbert. If that’s not achievement enough, Angie is a fluent speaker of nonsensical French.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 6.55.02 PM

Next is Jonathan, who moved to France because it reminded him of Scotland. He owns a haunted B&B that serves traditional French fare like stovies, oatcakes and beetroot, and loves ensuites without walls, because who needs privacy in France? Not me, Big J, not me.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 9.25.05 PM

Third contestant is gardener Pete, who lives in a one bedroom ‘Belguique’ style home, whatever the hell that is. “Don’t sit on the chaise! Don’t touch anything!” Pete barks at his guests, who gleefully ignore his irrational demands. Pete lives with a silent menagerie of ceramic owls and cuddly soft toys, and is haunted by the ghost of Jemima Puddleduck.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.38.40 PM

Finally, the delightful Frank: “I have to be frank, my name is Frank“. A self-confessed ‘party guy’, Frank is a Swiss scientist and living reincarnation of the BFG. Watch his ears, I’m sure they wiggle. He owns a 500 year old chateau which doubles as a public museum, filled with the freakiest mannequins in all of Europe. Frank is batshit, and I love him.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.56.09 PM

The critique is intense and exhaustive. No ornament is untouched, no drawer unopened, no toilet unflushed. Just like Jonathan’s half-walled ensuite, the episode highlights are so bad, they’re good:

Frank has a great knight out

“I just started fingering around and then the whole thing fell on the floor with a bang,” he giggled. We’ve all been there, Frank. Nobody’s judging.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.22.25 PM 

Jonathan keeps his feedback positive

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.47.02 PM

The hot-tub duck represents Angie’s score: dead in the water

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 6.58.03 PM

Frank reminds us why ensuites should always have a door

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.30.37 PM

Pete’s pet cemetary is revealed

Did Pete bury his wives in his garden? No, just his dogs. Because real graves in the garden would be weird.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.45.19 PM

Meet Frank’s flatmate, an mummified octagenarian nanny wearing XXL electrical gloves

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.03.20 PM

Angie and Jonathon contemplate a quick menage a quatre

 Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.43.52 PM

Mind yourselves, bears have claws.

Of course Frank wears a suit and tie to mow his lawns

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.48.23 PM

Jonathan and Pete try to remember why they thought emigrating to France was a good idea

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.04.18 PM

Claire and Jamie enjoy their time in France for Outlander Season 2

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 7.55.44 PM

So which of our expat oddballs was the lucky winner? Gardener Pete and his giant cucumber pocket the prize money, despite two contestants suggesting Pete knock his house down and start again.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.06.48 PM

How did a morbidly beige Belguique cabin beat a 500 year old historic chateau? It made no sense to anyone, especially Pete, but that’s what’s so good about May the Best House Win. It’s gloriously nonsensical.

May the Best House Win is both an entertaining glimpse into the bizarre and brilliant, and an hour in your afternoon that you’ll never get back. Either way, it’s bloody well worth it.


‘May the Best House Win’ is on TV One, Thursdays and Fridays at 2pm

This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.