Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: House Hunt

House Hunt director Robyn Paterson and house hunter Shandel Ngan Woo.

House Hunt director Robyn Paterson and house hunter Shandel Ngan Woo on TV1’s Breakfast.

TV Preview: House Hunt | TV1, 8.00 Sunday


By Doug Coutts

Who’d want to be buying a house these days? For a start, if you’re looking anywhere near Auckland you’re already priced out of the market with the rest of the country – apart from Woodville – not far behind.

To make matters worse, the banks are playing hard to get while pretending not to be, and then there’s the likelihood of being followed around by a camera crew.

That happens to a couple of hapless house hunters every week in the imaginatively named House Hunt. The one in Auckland has $400,000 to spend, which doesn’t buy as much of Otara – where she’s looking – as you might expect.

In fact, it doesn’t buy you anything, not even a three-bed Hardiplank box next to a run-down redeveloper’s dream.

In Christchurch, things are a little easier, although not that much cheaper. In fact, the price of new builds in that part of the country seem to be on a par with the other metropolitan centres, and you’re still in Christchurch.

Still, we get to meet one couple keen to buy a chunk of liquefactable paradise and who want a tiled shower. Don’t they read the papers?

House Hunt is standard real estate reality fare – it’s very topical of course, but it boldly goes where everyone else has gone before. One plus is the narration script – it’s in English, applied with attention to the rules of grammar and tempers building up the jeopardy* with a dash of erudition.

And that’s something that’s as rare on telly as a reasonably priced house north of Balclutha.

*Building up the jeopardy: When the director hasn’t managed to get enough shots to tell the story, the producer puts in a 20-second wide shot and tells the writer, “This is where you’ll really need to build the jeopardy.”

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at: Weakly Whirled News.
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