My money matters, with TV's Kevin McCloud

When Grand Designs started, did you ever imagine it would still be on our screens 15 years later?

In the early planning stages, we didn't even know if the show would feature any makeovers. We decided to make it much more documentary style - just turn up and see what happens. I thought one surveyor and his dog would watch it but it seemed to strike a chord. Around 2006 was our finest hour - we hit 5.6 million viewers, more than any programme on any other channel.

There have been so many memorable homes and people on the show. Which/who are your favourites?

Two girls who built their house on the Isle of Skye. I fell in love with that place - it's a great favourite of mine. The house sits on the northern tip of the island and was designed to minimise the overall visual impact in such a setting and withstand extreme weather, too.

And Paddy in the latest series, who built a house out of shipping containers. For me, one of the most glorious revelations in a gorgeous setting in Northern Ireland.

And what about the horror stories? Which particularly stick out in your mind?

The biggest problem we ever had was one that didn't even make it to the screen. There was a family building a house in Wimbledon and it turned out they handed over what they thought was a deposit on the project for the build work above ground.

In actual fact, the groundwork had swallowed up the whole budget and they had no money left, so had to sell the site. It was a tragedy; it always breaks your heart when people hit difficulties like that.

What can be done to help young people get on the property ladder?

First of all, we should create a healthy renting culture with lots of different renting models. We should not get too hung up on the ownership. Secondly, we need to be more creative in how people own or part-own. Because, frankly, when you take out a mortgage, you only part-own your house anyway. I think we need to take the heat out the market and consider fiscal ways to do that.

If we don't get people on to the housing market at the bottom, we have a dysfunctional market – it's that simple; it's broken.

What other projects are you working on?

I've got a four-part series coming out this autumn all about where we live: the town, the suburb, rural environment and the remote. I've also got a new series coming out at the end of April, it's called Kevin McCloud: Escape to the Wild. We visited families living in the four corners of the earth and it was amazing to film.

And finally, what's the best advice about money you've ever had?

Give it all away! You can't take it with you.

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