Want to be on TV? James and I need your help!

Dear SFN members

We need your help urgently!

There is a possibility that James and I might be presenting a TV show about property renovation in France.

If this happens we will be looking for case studies…but in the meantime, we are desperately looking for people (ideally in Aquitaine / neighbouring areas) who would be happy to let us and a cameraman into their home and talk about how their renovation project went wrong.

As this is not going to be screened, you can remain anonymous but of course, if the series happens and you’d like to be involved, then even better…

If you or anyone you know would like to be involved or can help, please, please, please get in touch ASAP!

Thank you so much

Catharine and James x

This sounds great, i wish I lived in the area you are looking for. Good luck x

I’m almost complete with my renovation of my house at Chartres in France. Difficult with all the high costs. But handled most of the renovation ourseleves.
One of the examples of our renovation so far. This is before:

And after:

Repainted the cupboards, changed handles, stuck new wall tiles, changed table top, adding an island, breaking off walls,etc.
Well of course, there are certain things that we prefer to call the artisans to get the job done. Took a long time doing research and calling. Not easy though. I would say tougher than all the other countries that we’ve lived in.
So if you need a house to film, I can invite you over.

Dear Catherine and James,
I can put myself forward for one of this case studies where renovations start and are never finished.In my case for many reasons. If I can be of help let me know.
Kind Regards

I posted on Facebook this morning not specifically about SFN but it did cause a bit of a debate. I have always been very openly supportive of SFN on Facebook and indeed emphasised this morning that I was referring to journalists in general. If you find yourself in a position to be involved in a programme that shows how to achieve success by overcoming obstacles and difficulties I wish you all power to your elbow.

Welcome to the network Kevin, I hope you will find it to be a positive and informative place for informed discussion.

I’ll post again when we have more information, currently the idea is in it’s infancy and nobody really knows at this stage if anything will come of it. For that reason I will not be encouraging any further speculation. I’ll leave that to those on Facebook who seem to know more than I.


Hi Stuart,

the clue for me was in Catherine saying “and talk about how their renovation project went wrong.” I was responding to what appeared to be an attempt to identify projects that have gone wrong rather than those that have succeeded. Of course a program should show the potential pitfalls, but if that is all that is focused upon I would suggest that the program might not be all that balanced in the impression it gives.

Of course I wish them luck in getting their project off the ground, so long as it is intended to present a balanced picture, not just the “so called French nightmare”. I would be interested in hearing from Catharine or James


Builders = problems, and it has always been thus.
DIY by amateurs, even more so.
Add liquidity problems, i.e. cash flow and mix with a lack of understanding of local customs, agitate with linguistic hurdles and voila! The so called French nightmare.
So why are so many of us here?
Something to do with those of a positive attitude?
I think so.

@ Mike - have left a comment on your page. Thanks!

Reply to Kevin.

Could you please tell me how you’ve managed to work out that it’s about the negative side of France and not just the fact that some renovation projects fail.

I disagree with you about Grand Designs, why; because most of them I’ve seen involve pots of money, the intial property being expensive and then the “renovators” (who generally get the work done for them) going way over budget. I agree the end result is always superb, but the fact that it goes way over budget makes it a failure to me.

I think you should wait and see the program before we ALL start making comments about it, and just wish them luck.

Please comment on my page if you wish to discuss. Your argument sounds like it should be develloped but not on this blog.


Catharine and James

As much as I would like to be a TV star, firstly I’m not very photogenic and secondly I cheated and bought a five year old house.

I think this kind of show could really be beneficial to people thinking of renovating or movign to France to do so.

Make sure you have control on the content and you get to see th show or shows (who knows) before they go out.

I don’t really know you both but I’m sure your angle is exactly as I said above to helppeople considering the move and make sure they inform themselves of all the pitfalls.

I am on my second stint in France and I know exactly how difficult it can be, and I’m married to a French lady.We have faced many problems without even getting into renovation, and we have had some successes and some failures.

Good luck with it and keep us all informed.

Catherine and James

I’m new to this group, although not to France and slightly nervous about my first comment perhaps sounding a little negative. Please don’t take my comments as negative, I am genuinely interested in an answer.

I’m sure you are excited by the prospect of doing a TV show and I have no doubt those thinking of settling here need advice on what not to do, but why the focus exclusively on the negative? Why not celebrate the success of people who have made their lives here rather than the disasters? A good model might be “Grand Design” as opposed to “Cowboy Builders”.

There seem to be so many media people intent on only showing the negative side of life in France, shame that you couldn’t redress the balance rather than adding to the myth.

Kevin Wilson

Yes, please use the copy from here and I can be contacted directly on james@kingswharf.net



Ok I will take the words from here and link to this blog? or do you want to use an email address or phone number for a quick response. c

Yes please Charlie

Kind regards


We will publicise this on our web sites if you want, it can go on our Home Pages under Stop Press on www.dordogne-on-line.info and www.france-on-line.info and we can put it in our Newsletter next week, let us know. Charlie

Hi guys. I’m acting as a liaison between the principals in a commercial renovation in La Roche Bernard and their local team. I came in a few months after they started and some big actions were missed at the outset. I’d be glad to talk about the implications if you were interested in a different slant from the usual dmoestic issues.

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