I love the countryside. Let me just say that now. I grew up in a village whose population dropped nearly 10 per cent when my brothers and I moved to university. It was pretty, it was quaint, and everyone had an opinion on that new monstrosity that the Fletchers were building up the road.
But there’s one thing that people don’t tell you about the countryside. It’s really fucking boring. This here is the issue that rises to the surface in I Escaped to the Country. Making a move to the rural simplicities of village life look exciting is like trying to make rocking up to a first date drunk sound like a good idea.
Our presenter, Nicki Chapman, is as excitable as anyone can be about rural cottages, and soon takes us back to 2014, when Rose and Tim were looking to leave their urban lives behind them to resettle in idyllic Wiltshire. They view a number of houses, all looking rather similar. Red brick? Check. Low ceilings? Check. Picturesque views out the kitchen window? Check. There’s no denying that they are all lovely places to call home, but there’s only so many times you can hear that a layout is ‘quirky’ before you begin to think this might just be the norm in the countryside.
Once a house has been picked, there is the standard revisit from Nicki, where they discuss just how great the whole experience was, and how perfectly they’ve fitted into village life: Rose and Tim now volunteer at the local shop.
This goes on for three separate couples and it’s all very lovely, which is perhaps two too many, but it never fails to make a move to the countryside seem like a remedy for all of your woes, except maybe economic ones.
I Escaped to the Country is heaven for people who wear slippers in summer and refuse to buy a dishwasher because ‘we have a perfectly serviceable sink’. And yet, that’s not a bad thing; actually it’s an exact description of my parents, which is probably the demographic this show is aimed at, instead of anyone who knows what Snapchat is.