CHANGING Rooms was the iconic design show that captured the hearts of the nation in the 90s.
The TV show saw neighbours take over each other’s homes alongside a professional designer and carry out makeovers – with mixed results.
Some results left viewers over the moon, while others were horrified – including the owners of the £6,000 antique teapot collection that Linda Barker smashed.
And now, 25 years on, it’s returning to our screens along with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – now the show’s presenter and previously a designer who originally made a name for himself thanks to his flamboyant fashion.
While Carol Smillie originally presented Changing Rooms, she won’t be returning.
Instead, Laurence will be joined by Naked Attraction’s Anna Richardson – who stepped in to replace Davina McCall when she bowed out due to her role on the Masked Singer.
Meanwhile, designers like Anna Ryder Richardson and Linda Barker have been replaced by Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead – who grew up watching the show.
But what happened to the original Changing Rooms cast? We take a closer look…
Famous in Asia and Australia
During his time on Changing Rooms, Laurence became as well-known for his loud suits as his daring designs and recently called himself “the Pope of subversion” throughout his time on the show.
Thanks to his sharp tongue, he went on to become a huge celebrity in Asia and Australia as a judge on TV show The Apartment, and then House Rules.
And now, he’s the only returning cast member to Changing Rooms – although it took a bit of persuading.
He recently told The Sun: “I’ve got so used to these enormous shows in Asia, in Australia, in America. In Asia I’ve got 130million viewers and it’s all about my guyliner, and it’s all about my backlighting and it’s a huge crew. I don’t move without 300 people in an entourage.
“Suddenly Changing Rooms is like live and acoustic. It’s literally like going back to having a concert above a pub again. It’s incredibly invigorating, even in my advanced age. I think that’s one of the reasons I said yes.”
While his TV work is currently taking him around the country and before that the world, for Laurence there is no place like his Cotswolds home with wife Jackie and their three spaniels Estella Piglet, 12, Dylis Daughter of Gladice, 11, and Midge Marriott, four.
Snubbed for presenting job
Carol Smillie hosted Changing Rooms from its start until 2003, even earning herself a National TV Award and Bafta nomination.
However, she has missed out on a gig in the show’s rebirth, and was left rather disappointed.
Despite this, Carol has a very different job to focus her attention on these days.
She’s busy officiating weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals after becoming a humanist celebrant a few years ago.
Carol – who works under her married name Carol King – wed her first couple in 2019 after becoming a member of the Humanist Society Scotland the year before that.
Humanist services are non-religious and became legal in Scotland in 2005.
Reality TV star
Aside from Laurence, Linda Barker was the most memorable designer in the original Changing Rooms lineup – mainly because she accidentally demolished a poor woman’s valuable collection of antique teapots when she built a floating shelf unit.
After the show ended in 2003, Linda headed into the I’m A Celebrity jungle, and finished third.
She also appeared on celebrity diving competition Splash and won Celebrity Come Dine With Me.
Linda currently writes and publishes design books and has her own fancy kitchen range, as well as line of paints.
In her personal life, last year, after years of living in London, Linda and former TV executive husband Chris Short decided to up sticks to East Riding.
‘Handy’ Andy Kane
Cockney builder Andy Kane was always ready to do the DIY jobs that the contestants couldn’t handle – which led to him getting the nickname Handy Andy.
Once the UK show wrapped, Andy moved Stateside to work on the US version – called Trading Spaces.
He has also presented three shows for UK Style, Garden Rivals, Room Rivals and Streetcombers, as well as Increase Your House Price By Ten Grand.
On top of that, he has also hosted a number of BBC Primary Geography programmes since 2008.
Bought zoo and fined £100k
Anna Ryder Richardson
Former model and fitness instructor Anna was an interior designer by the time she came to Changing Rooms – and became known for some unique choices.
A standout moment was when she framed erotic French undergarments and placed them around one homeowner’s room.
On seeing the results, the contestant screamed and cried: “Why would I want this s**t in my room?! I’ve got children!”
Like Linda, Anna also had a stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle in 2007.
In 2008, Anna completed her lifelong dream of owning a zoo when she purchased Manor House Wildlife Park in Pembrokeshire for £1 million.
This led to a load of TV series about her experiences looking after animals, including Chaos at the Zoo, Anna’s Welsh Zoo and Wild Welsh Zoo.
However, in 2012, she and her husband were charged with health and safety violations when a mother and three-year-old son were injured by a falling tree.
They were fined £100,000.
After setting up her own charity to transport neglected lionesses from an abandoned zoo, The Nature Foundation, she sold her park in 2018 and went to live in France.
And she’s since said that the “stresses and strains” of running the zoo are what ended her 18-year marriage to Colin MacDougall.
Imprisoned for £50k cancer fraud
Elizabeth was one of the makeover experts on Changing Rooms, but she was handed a one-year prison sentence in 2000 after lying to many of her friends and colleagues about having terminal cancer in order to raise more than £54,000.
The fraudster said she needed the money for medical treatment in America, but used it to buy expensive food and designer clothes.
She took £13,000 from her then boyfriend and large amounts from some of her Changing Rooms co-stars and producers, including Linda, Laurence and Anna.
Laurence – whose father died from leukaemia – and his wife Jacqueline had felt so sorry for Elizabeth, they even made her godmother to their daughter Hermione.
Elizabeth pleaded guilty to 14 counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception and four of obtaining property by deception.
Judge Quentin Campbell told her: “The nature of your deceptions was particularly cruel and unpleasant. There cannot be anyone in this court who has not had a friend or relative who truly does suffer from cancer or had died from that disease.”
We can’t wait to get to know the new batch of Changing Rooms stars…