Room To Improve: 13 of the best Dermot Bannon-isms from last night's show
Last night's Room to Improve continued one of this season’s more enjoyable themes: the birth of a pricklier Dermot Bannon, a feistier Dermot: it’s Dermot the alpha male (ish).
He was in the north Dublin suburb of Portrane to rejig a cottage for three generations of the Linders family – sisters Anna and Marian, grandson Michael and Granny Mary, known as "Ma". (She was sort of the hero of tonight’s show, as it turned out, with her bawdy comments about someone taking her knickers, and amusingly giving out about her 47-year-old “hard-working” kitchen being pulled out, and how “that ould range used to break my heart”.)
It was all about the sea view, and getting a clear sightline of Lambay Island.
We started well, all peace and reconciliation, with Dermot rhapsodising about how "beautiful" the site was, how "amazing" and "phenomenal", the "stunning view"…
But Marian and Anna were formidable ladies – they literally did some of the demolition work themselves – sure of what they wanted and not happy about compromising.
And no better man than Dermot to hold his own: here were some of his crankiest lines from tonight’s show:
- "The big elephant in the room is the size of the existing house – and the size of their budget. Am I going to be the person pouring damp water on this amazing dream?” – Dermot fires an early warning-shot across the bows.
- "We’re screwed for budget… It’s €34,000! That’s a lot of money to find" – further shots fired. Repeat, further shots fired.
- "They (the sisters) are going to be hard to deal with – they’ll be on-site all the time, around every corner, looking at me" – but that’s the whole point of this show, man.
- "Over my dead body is there a kitchen sink going in there. Absolutely no way" – not a huge fan of the Linders’ choice for sink-placement.
- "So… you’ve made lots of changes" – Dermot purses his lips and critiques in an entertainingly passive-aggressive way.
- "This porch is starting to stick out like a sore thumb" – mixed metaphor alert. Or is that an actual architectural term? I don’t know.
- "This isn’t on their wish-list – it’s on mine" – who’s the boss? You are, Dermot. PS You’re also the boss of our hearts.
- "The first impression (you’ll get) when you walk in the front door…" Pause for dramatic effect. "…is of a big pile of pots" – and what precisely is wrong with that?
- "I don’t think there could be a worse place to put the kitchen sink" – Jeez, back on the sink again. LET IT GO, FOR GOD’S SAKE.
- "Who the hell buys tiles and carts them around the world for 20 years?" – this is a pretty valid question, in fairness.
- "I could have seen it from over there!" – Dermot throws a mini-tantrum after being told that, contrary to his presumption, he wouldn’t be able to set foot on Lambay Island, home of Lambay Castle, which was designed by one of his heroes, Sir Edwin Lutyens. PS Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, sez Wikipedia, "was an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era". So now you know.
- LATE PLOT TWIST (THAT YOU PROBABLY KNEW WAS COMING): It all ended happily. He did a bang-up job as usual – lots of light, surprisingly – with Dermot commenting at the finale, "I think this is one of my favourite spots… I think we’ve all made friends for life…and this was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life."
- The sisters even described him as "a visionary" and "a genius"… He’s no Edwin Lutyens, though.