TV review: Room to Improve — the prices have gone crazy, but the show’s improved

TV review: Room to Improve — the prices have gone crazy, but the show’s improved

Room to Improve (RTÉ One, Sundays 9:30pm and RTÉ Player) is back and the prices are gone crazy.

The first episode of season 13 (13!) sends Dermot Bannon to south county Dublin, where he meets Marc and Lisa. 

Their room to improve is a huge back garden so they have decided to sell their existing house and build a new one out the back. If this all sounds like a couple out of a Ross O’Carroll-Kelly book, then it isn’t.

Marc and Lisa are lovely, normal people who just happen to have a huge back garden. Dermot is delighted because he clearly likes them and they want something a bit more challenging than a glass box at the back of the house. 

Everyone’s a winner, including the audience. Because this first episode is like getting a post-Covid hug.

It starts in 2018, when Dermot meets the couple and their three boys. The brief is simple enough — whatever else happens in the budget there must be a multi-sensory room for their son Liam, who has autism. Marc and Lisa’s fierce love for Liam, and their other two sons, is at the heart of this build. The reason we keep coming back for more with Room to Improve is that it’s about homes, not houses.

And of course, we just can’t get enough of Dermot Bannon. He just has it — no one else out there can drive a car and explain the benefits of a zinc roof quite like Dermot. He’s made for telly.

And even though we know by now that he will pick a scrap with the home-owners over a skylight or feature wall, we still love it when it comes along. 

In this episode, he brings them to a lovely Georgian terraced house to show them a hipster kitchen. Marc in particular has no time for the blue-painted plywood fittings and I’m with Marc. 

Dermot tries to sell him on the fact that you can see the grain of the cheap plywood until Marc pointed out that’s exactly what he doesn’t like. 

Dermot tries one more time before giving up and t

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