Kevin McCloud has revealed the dilemma faced when a Grand Designs participant dies before the project is over.
The TV presenter – who fronts the Channel 4 property show following people’s attempts to design and build their dream home – told how the difficult situation has happened on more than one occasion.
Where is Lucie Fairweather from Grand Designs now?
McCloud revealed in an interview with website Stuff: ‘We are doing a very difficult project right now. We had no idea and neither did our contributors, but the husband fell gravely ill and has passed away during the filming process, and it makes the narrative very hard to graft. Because you think where do we go [from he]?’
The designer also recalled the death of Nat McBride, whose widow Lucy Fairweather featured on the show in 2010.
McCloud said: ‘She and her young husband in their late 20s were going to build this beautiful little chalet bungalow with amazing architecture – he was a sustainability campaigner; she’s a teacher.
The death of Nat McBride
‘On day one he announces on camera that he’s got stomach cancer.
‘He passed away six months later, and we had one day’s filming in the can. And then 18 months later, Lucy rang up and said, ‘‘I’m going to do this by myself’’, with her two children.
‘She did it with architect Jerry Tate, who held her hand through the process, guided her through it. Sometimes you don’t know where [a situation] will go, and it can turn such a positive corner.’
While Grand Designs conveys so many inspiring stories, there can also be ‘plenty’ of sad ones, where the stress of the project causes separation or divorce among couples working to achieve their dream.
Grand Designs has run for 20 series on Channel 4 since 1999.
Most memorable ‘disaster’ Grand Designs’ projects
One of the most memorable ‘disaster’ projects was was Chesil Cliff lighthouse in Devon.
Owner Edward Short struggled to complete the project in line with his vision, resulting in debt problems and the breakdown of his marriage.
He said: ‘If there’s one huge guilt that I have over this, it’s the impact on the family. I put her through a horrendous time with this — knocking the family home down, not building another one. I don’t think it gets much worse than that for a partner. My ambition and vanity has probably collapsed the marriage.’
After the multi-million pound home was finally finished, it struggled to sell.