From expensive houses to undercover bosses

Telly Today highlights for Thursday, August 5th.
Channel 4

In the heart of Mayfair an extraordinary home is being built; a £65 million refurbishment of almost 50,000 square feet of living space. The house belongs to self-made billionaire and philanthropist John Caudwell, who sold Phones 4u in 2006 for just under £1.5 billion.

He is now aiming to create one of the most lavish and expensive homes ever to be renovated in Britain. Bought for £87 million, when the building is finished it is estimated to be worth upwards of £250 million. With a huge house comes huge challenges, and with the build over budget and behind schedule, it has been far from plain sailing. Now, as it enters its last crucial stages, this programme follows this complex project being carried out in the narrow confines of historic Mayfair.

The unique engineering tasks and challenges include a vast subterranean basement that joins two mansions together, a mechanical car stacker that can take eight cars from street level to storage at the click of a button, a pool with a bespoke installation designed to look like lava, and a second-floor dining room featuring a river with living fish. John Caudwell is an exacting and demanding client who cajoles builders and designers alike to deliver on his vision for his perfect home, which he plans to use to host his lavish charity fundraisers.

Now one of Britain’s most successful businessmen, he has had to fight for all his success from humble beginnings on a council estate in Stoke-on-Trent. John believes his difficult upbringing, where he had little money and strived to not be bullied, was the perfect training ground for business. He also drives to the location of one of his very first businesses; a used car lot. As the last of the 20,000 sheets of gold leaf go on, and his team of expert tradespeople and interior designers approach the new and very tight deadline of John’s birthday in a few weeks’ time, can they pull off this epic transformation?

Britain’s Most Expensive Home: Building for a Billionaire, Channel 4, 8 pm


Undercover Boss has undergone a revamp. The series has been supersized and rebooted for ITV and is more timely than ever, as Britain reopens following three devastating lockdowns and UK firms face their greatest challenge, a battle to survive. Undercover Big Boss follows a group of chief execs and company bosses as they swap their power suits for overalls and go in disguise to work on their very own shop floors, to see what really goes on behind closed doors.

With the gap between multi-millionaire bosses and their struggling workers wider than ever, there will be big emotion, big rewards and some big shocks in store as the bosses get their hands dirty. The four-part series will see bosses from Pickfords, Bristol Street Motors, Wyldecrest Parks, and Euro Foods Group roll up their sleeves and join workers on the bottom rung of the ladder to experience a life they had long left behind.

This episode, the first edition of the series, features self-made millionaire Alfie Best, founder and CEO of the largest residential park home operator in Europe, Wyldecrest Parks.

Undercover Big Boss, ITV, 9 pm

Channel 4

The first of three films in a female-led drama anthology series of stand-alone programmes, starring three of Britain’s leading actors, from BAFTA-winning writer-director Dominic Savage.

The trilogy explores the experience of three women in moments that are emotionally raw, thought-provoking and personal. The stories for each film have been developed in creative partnership with the leading actors, using improvised dialogue, and include the themes of relationships, mental health and empowerment. In the first film of the series, Victoria (BAFTA-winning Suranne Jones) seems to have a perfect family, job and home. But something is wrong.

The pressure she feels is becoming unbearable. We see her struggle with her mental health and the effect that has on her life and family. I Am Victoria is a powerful meditation on the anxieties that often lie beneath a veneer of happiness and success. It portrays a woman weighed down by life’s pressures and in need of help, but unable to seek it.

I Am Victoria, Channel 4, 9 pm


Buffering follows Iain (Iain Stirling), a children’s TV presenter with an aversion to kids and in an up and down relationship (mainly down) with TV producer Olivia (Elena Saurel).

Iain’s housemates Rosie (Jessie Cave),Greg (Paul G Raymond) Ashley (Rosa Robson) and Thalia (Janine Harouni) alongside Ashley’s old flame Robbie (Sean Sagar- Fate: The Winx Saga, The Gentleman, Our Girl), are all navigating that age where they’re too old for nightclubs but too poor for mortgages.

Part of a generation who are told they must live the perfect life, these friends discover it’s not only ok but healthy to fail, over and over again.

Buffering, ITV2, from 10 pm with a double-bill

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