One to watch: The Restoration Man - Channel 4, 8pm

George Clarke has his eye on some big projects
George Clarke has his eye on some big projects
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One thing’s for certain: George Clarke could never complain of being bored in his job.

The architect gets to meet people from all walks of life for this telly gem - which would be rewarding enough - but that he gets to indulge his life-long passion for property developing at the same time must mean he’s found his dream job.

Of course the people taking on these massive projects in The Restoration Man are pretty darn thankful to have him on board - after all, these are difficult times for the property market.

But for Clarke, from the age of 12, there was never any doubt that architecture would be his career. That he had two grandfathers in the building trade must have increased even further the chances that he would be steered in that direction.

After graduating at Newcastle University with an Architectural Studies degree and previously supporting himself by renovating people’s homes in his spare time, Clarke went on to join renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell on jobs in London and Hong Kong.

He formed his own company in 1998 and could count the likes of Simon Fuller and Jamie Oliver on his client list.

But his career in television was to come about completely by chance, after he approached a literary agency, little realising it also represented TV presenters - and those in the know thought him a perfect fit for Channel 5’s Build a New Life in the Country.

Five years later, and Clarke would become The Restoration Man, and something of a fairy godmother to those whose property development dreams had turned a bit stale.

“I get my hands dirty on the show and along the way, hope to inspire people to forego the usual beige boxes we all seem to be living in and go for something more unusual instead,” he explains.

“I’m passionate about architecture and all over the country there are beautiful buildings with real soul that need to be saved. I’m not interested in creating living museums. The challenge is to give these historic buildings a modern twist and drag them into the 21st century.”

And so on with the show, and this week, he meets fellow architect Neil Worrell and his partner Jackie Robinson, who are making a rather big commitment. They’re now going to cement their relationship, not with something as simple as a champagne toast, but by purchasing an unused church in the picturesque fishing town of Brixham in Devon. But they’ve never lived together before and their building enterprise is no small task.

While you cannot fault their enthusiasm in the beginning, the project, rather than bringing them closer together as they’d hoped, takes on a life of its own and pushes them to their limits after it becomes the ultimate restoration test.

Luckily, George steps in to add his own design expertise in an attempt to re-inspire the couple and help them realise their dream.

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