Thursday, 30 April 2009

Grand Designs

From: Chortle, Tim
Sent: 10 April 2009 15:48
To: 'Talkback Thames’
Subject: Application for Grand Designs

Dear Grand Designs

My girlfriend and I are embarking on an ambitious yet truly exciting venture to build ourselves a family home in the South Kensington area, and would be very interested in gauging your level of interest in filming the project. The construction promises to be challenging, not only due to the various planning implications in this location, but due also to our own extremely high standards.

We are looking to provide a living environment which will stand the test (and tastes) of time for generations to come, whilst remaining faithful to the traditions and architectural styles of the surrounding community. We have also researched materials which guarantee an ethically sound construction and sourced the greenest of utility provision. As a 27-year-old, I believe our generation has not only the greatest opportunity, but also the strongest obligation, to live an ecologically responsible lifestyle. I can promise that this build will be unique in almost every manner, with creative innovation at the forefront of our minds.

At the moment we have some early plans and an artist impression of the building, which I would be happy to forward to you to aid your consideration. We forecast that foundation work will commence in August 09 with a final deadline of October 2010 - Christmas at the very latest.

Maybe just a note about our motives. As a young couple we’re in no doubt that this will be one of the biggest challenges of our lives and are under no illusions regarding the commitment required, but with such pressures we’re confident of a fabulous sense of achievement and a wonderful home for ourselves and hopefully children. The opportunity to have this journey documented would absolutely be the icing on the cake.

Do let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send through the designs.


Tim Chortle

From: 'Talkback Thames’
Sent: 23 April 2009 15:48
To: Chortle, Tim
Subject: Application for Grand Designs

Dear Tim

Apologies for the delay in replying to your email. It sounds like an interesting project that you plan to undertake and it would be good to find out more. In order to be able to consider any suggestions for Grand Designs we would need you to send in plans and a completed questionnaire, which I have attached, so we can fully visualise the project. These can be sent by email or in the post to

Grand Designs
Talkback Thames
77 Woodside Road Amersham
HP6 6AA.

If the project looks suitable for the series then one of the team will be in touch to find out some more and go through the next stages of the selection process.

We can only consider projects which have their planning permission approved as this could take many months to happen, so please get back in contact with the above information once you are at this stage and are still interested in putting your project forward for consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Johanna Fry
Grand Designs

From: Chortle, Tim
Sent: 25 April 2009 17:08
To: 'Talkback Thames’
Subject: Application for Grand Designs

Dear Johanna

Many thanks for getting back to me. I was beginning to give up hope!

Anyway, as requested, please find attached a completed questionnaire which I think should cover all the information you need. You will also find attached our plans. You will see from the form that we've pushed work back from August to October, but I'm sure this date will not slip again. If there are any issues that you would like me to expand upon, please don't hesitate to drop me an email.

I'm sure you will find the plans unique, inspiring and certainly intriguing.

We're both looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Best wishes


Grand Designs Questionnaire
Johanna Fry
Grand Designs, Talkback Thames,
77 Woodside Road,
Buckinghamshire HP6 6AA

Tim Chortle Age 27

Partners Name
Zoe Carter Age 30

Location of build
South Kensington

Presently unemployed but concentrating on being famous.

Who is your architect?
My girlfriend, Zoe

Can you confirm that your architect would be happy to be filmed for Grand Designs?

Yes, she was once on Ready Steady Cook (in the Red Tomato team), so comfortable with TV. However, despite making by far the better dish, the audience voted for Green Peppers. This will be her first return to TV since that bitter disappointment.

What are you planning to build/renovate?
We are looking to build a one bedroom mansion, the likes of which have never been seen before. This will be a space guaranteeing gawps, stunned silence, joyful woops of euphoria. People will step into our new home and they will cry. Actually cry, Johanna.

When do you start?
October 2009

How long will the build take?
1 year

Do you have planning, if so is it conditional or full?
We have conditional permission – the condition being that the build is filmed by Grand Designs.

Are you project managing? Who will be involved?
I will be project managing. Zoe will be first mate. Kevin McCloud will also be helping when he comes to visit.

Do you have a builder lined up?
At present we do not have a builder.

If you do have a builder – can you confirm that they are happy to be filmed for Grand Designs?
If the builder refuses to be filmed, we will get someone else in. Making this a good television programme and being famous is a high priority in this build.

What did it cost to buy the plot?

What is the projected cost of the build

How will you finance the build? i.e.; 2nd mortgage, savings, sale of existing home
Zoe will work very hard. She is an architect for new Tesco stores, and since there are still many buildings in Britain that are not Tescos yet, she will be very busy.
I will be grooming myself for fame and so unable to work at this time or really contribute in any way beyond the completion of this form.

What will be unique, interesting or different about your project – what sets it apart from normal builds? (Materials / Techniques/ Style / Site)
I’m sure you will see from the plans, that there are many, many individual features incorporated in our new house.
The building will be extremely eco-friendly, with a funnel and pipe leading rainwater through the chimney and into the taps in the bathroom.
There will be a circular whirly wicked slide leading from my bedroom window all way to the ground floor.
There will be a room in the house completely given over to housing all my Grand Designs videos and DVDs. I will also be able to display Kevin McCloud posters and photos with pride in this room. As a result this vast array of merchandise will not spill out into the rest of the house. Zoe doesn’t like inviting friends to our present abode because apparently this stuff is ‘weird’.
There will also be a room with a MASSIVE TV playing Grand Designs and Come Dine With Me on loop.

In terms of construction what techniques/ materials will you be using?
Good question. Actually that’s a bloody good question. I’d imagine bricks, cement, wood and nails and glue. Techniques will be important, but I don’t really know any beyond dry-stone walling, and doing that would be mental.

What are your architectural style/influences?
Gaudi, the Pig from the Three Little Pigs that used bricks, Norman Foster’s Beijing Airport

How do you envisage the end result?
As I said before, Johanna, people will see it and cry.
It will be staggering.

Do you have a deadline to be in by?
9pm on a work night, midnight at weekends.

Do you anticipate any problems with the project?
Yes, the rope bridge connecting my home to my office will take me over crocodile infested waters. At present crocodiles are not native to South Kensington, so they will need to be imported. Also, in order for my daily journey to work to be an authentic representation of the film The Temple of Doom, I will need to employ 3 voodoo-crazed robed baldies to charge me, attempting to extract my heart.
Also the huge box of fireworks on the roof, required for our spectacular nightly firework displays might be incredibly dangerous and annoy the neighbours.
We also have a big sharp hook in the kitchen, from which we can hang hams. Caution will be required as this hook appears to be at eye-level, and I’m mildly concerned someone is going to pluck a blinker out.
Also, whilst there is a slide to take one down to the ground floor, there appears to be no physical way of actually ascending to the first and second floor. This appears to be a bit of a cock-up.

Why is this your dream home? What are your motivations for building your dream home?
Because it’s all I’ve ever wanted. When I’m famous I’ll be truly happy. Just image not being able to leave my wonderful house for fear of being mobbed! Imagine money never being an issue ever again. Imagine, being asked to go on Loose Women and The One Show, sharing my story about being really famous. Plus, our present neighbours absolutely hate us.

From: 'Talkback Thames’
Sent: 26 April 2009 10:21
To: Chortle, Tim
Subject: Application for Grand Designs

Dear Tim

What a shame this wasn't a serious application, but the form made me laugh. Thanks for improving my afternoon!

Johanna Fry
Grand Designs

From: Chortle, Tim
Sent: 26 April 2009 11:17
To: 'Talkback Thames’
Subject: Application for Grand Designs

Dearest Johanna

I'm not altogether sure what you mean by 'not a serious application' but in any case Phil and Kirstie from Location Location Location have decided to feature the build and so they have been granted exclusive coverage of the construction. Admittedly Phil is a poor man's Kevin, and Kirstie is abhorrently horsey, but such is the cross one bears in the pursuit of fame.

I wish you well, Johanna. You strike me as a go-getter with a kind heart.


Tim Chortle


  1. comedy genius