Colleen Hawkes is a senior journalist for Stuff Homed
OPINION: Location, Location, Location co-presenter Kirstie Allsopp is an accepted sweetie, which is why she sometimes puts her foot in it – she doesn’t always see how her message could be deliberately misinterpreted. It is never intended on her part, but the hungry “tabloid” media is always set to jump on her when she does.
She calls it “twisting” her words, and her latest stoush with the Daily Mail over the weekend has her more angry than ever before. Social media commenters have been quick to jump in, labelling her a “hypocrite” and worse, for living in a big detached house when she is criticising detached housing.
But to be fair, Allsopp is criticising the cheap new builds that have sprung from the middle-class one-upmanship that comes from being able to say you live in a detached house. Never mind that the “gap” between your house and the next is just a few inches. Hey, it’s still detached.
The Daily Mail headline reads: “Kirstie Allsopp says detached houses should be banned because they are not ‘environmentally practical’ and lead to loss of community feeling.”
She’s angry because they have not specified she was talking about cheap new builds. Her response on X (formerly Twitter) was this: “Yes, I do live in Devon in a huge “detached” house, most Jacobean mansions are detached, you morons. In London I live in a block of flats, so shove that in your pipe and smoke it. This divisive & petty bollocks isn’t a job for grown ups, & it certainly isn’t journalism.”
She goes further calling headline writers ”a bunch of manipulative c***s who twist your words, sentiments and intent”.
“Trying to have a meaningful debate on any vital topic in the UK is made almost impossible by our absurd media.”
Allsopp makes it clear this is her message: “It’s not the fact that they are detached; it’s the quality of them. Better to build semis or terraced houses with bigger gardens, better heat & sound insulation and, vitally, more space inside, than pretend those tiny little gaps means they are “detached” and somehow better.
“This should be a grown-up debate NOT the Daily Mail saying “you have no right to a view because your boyfriend has a detached house”. That is what is so bloody falling. Stupid, facile stuff which helps no one.”
The interview in question was a joint one with Allsopp’s co-presenter Phil Spencer, who the Daily Mail says lives in “a £3.3million (NZ$6.72m) home in Hampshire with ten acres of land and a tennis court”.
Typical of the social media comments was this one from AntheaJane4: “You don’t get it do you? You own & take advantage of something that you are now saying needs to stop. Where d’you draw the line? I mean, there seems to be a lot of land surrounding your nice detached Devon property which could be used for building attached properties/flats on.”
And: “Big house for me – but not for thee.” from Sir Thinks-A-Lot. And there’s a lot worse from the trolls who even choose to comment on how she looks.
However, others, like JGillgannon say nice things, like: “You’re a national treasure Kirstie and I love you for who you are. Just keep being you!”
Unfortunately, Allsopp cannot resist responding and inflaming the situation on X, although you have to admire her passion. Perhaps one simple response outlining the facts as they “should” have been presented would be enough.
Interestingly, she says in one post that she has had no media training, which seems hard to believe after more than two decades of Location, Location, Location, not to mention Love It or List It and other shows. And media interviews are a contractural part of her job.
This is all the more remarkable considering Allsopp is fabulously opinionated about a lot of things, and has found herself in strife many times before. At one time, she even cancelled her Twitter account, but later reinstated it.
Her latest outburst was fierce but short-lived: “I’m over it now, 20 minutes of blind rage at the DM twisting stuff, and then I went grocery shopping & saw all the cheery faces I hadn’t seen since before Christmas and I remembered I have a lovely life & a fantastic job, that’s an enormous privilege. Every working day I get 1/2”.”
And her final post on the matter is this: “Right. I’m driving to Dorset to see my Dad. if I try to drive and tweet I’ll kill myself, or worse, someone else. So twitter and the DM & Telegraph and all the other rags can do their worst. I’ve said my piece. Many Thanks to those who do get it. xxx”
We do get it Kirstie, and I for one, hope you never stop telling it like it is.
And of course, after all this time, you should be in a position to own good properties, including a lovely old country holiday house that we can rent. It’s called Meadowgate and you can see it here.