herald

Saturday 23 August 2014

Desperate Houses is back with a new face in charge

SHOW: New host Fiona Wilson (right) with Angie Williams

Fans of hit show Desperate Houses were greeted by a new face when they tuned in to the first episode of the fourth series last night.

Instead of established host Avril Murphy Allen, audiences saw newcomer to television, Fiona Wilson, take over the role of presenter on the popular show.

And far from suffering from nerves, the interior design expert could not wait to see her new show make its debut.

She told the Herald: "It's quite different from the previous format. It still has the same name obviously but there have been quite a few changes and I think it's a lot faster paced than before.

"From my point of view, it's been very interesting making it and maybe I'm biased but I think people will love it."

Fiona does admit, however, that she was quite daunted about taking over from long time RTE presenter Avril.

"Believe it or not, I haven't actually met her so we didn't get to swap tips but apparently she's absolutely lovely. I hope to give the show a fresh, new look and I think it's going to be totally different from before.

Hectic

"Avril was great and I really do have big shoes to fill so inevitably I'm a little nervous about it all," she said.

Busy Fiona recently moved back to Ireland after living in Canada for years and runs her own design practice.

"It's pretty hectic right now but I'm really loving it -- I've met some wonderful people and I've also gotten to travel Ireland, which has been great.

"I had never been to Cork before I was sent down so it was lovely to finally see it," she added. And the mum of one is ready for whatever her new role throws at her.

"I suppose it would be a bit strange to have people coming up to me in the street recognising me, but I'll just take it as it comes.

"I don't think it's really that kind of show to be honest, you can still maintain a level of anonymity.

"Although I won't be able to bring my son to school in a pair of tracksuit bottoms any more," she laughed.

The first episode saw Fiona help Angie in Letterfrack to reclaim her Desperate House.

Originally from Liverpool, Angie Williams has been living in Letterfrack for nearly 30 years. She lives in a two-storey artisan cottage with her children Florence and Daniel.

Angie, an artist and wood-turner, grew up in a family of hoarders and claims her mother's philosophy was "if you keep something for seven years, you'll find a use for it".

And according to Fiona, the Desperate House team had their work cut out for them to sort out the mess.

"We only three days and a limited budget of €2,000 so it was tough work but it all worked out OK in the end."

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