THERE was more chance of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen getting a short back and sides than Changing Rooms going soft.
The style consultant says he would have had a full-on “diva moment” if bosses on the Channel 4 reboot had asked him to tone down his lavish designs — and would have walked away from the overhauled show.
Laurence told me: “If I’d done a design for a room and they’d said, ‘I think they’ll be upset, do you mind if we don’t do that?’ — that’s when I would’ve had my diva moment.”
In the show’s Nineties heyday, Laurence won plenty of plaudits for his daring designs.
But his edgy creations and garish colour schemes didn’t always go down well with those who had to live with them.
In 1998, he left a woman in tears after transforming her costly extension into a plum-coloured Queen Anne dining room.
He later filled a couple’s living room with animal-print stencils and a red carpet which the livid pair dubbed a “wh**e’s palace”.
But those moments helped make Changing Rooms a hit with viewers — and Laurence, who is joined in the revamp by new host Anna Richardson, is convinced good telly needs an edge.
'Nobody’s curtail-ing your freedom of speech'
That includes brash figures like himself and Simon Cowell giving “tough love” to contestants — so long as it is given respectfully.
He said: “You can over-woke things. You will end up with no television whatsoever. But the big distinction is very straightforward.
“You show respect to people and you do that through how you say things and how polite you are. But you continue to say what you said and that’s important.
“It’s a message I want to send out specifically to my generation, who are furious about freedom of speech.
“Nobody’s curtail-ing your freedom of speech. It’s the way you express your opinion.”
Shame nobody has politely asked Laurence to ditch his leather trousers.
DAVID DIGS DEEP
HERE’S a first look at Olivia Colman and David Thewlis in Sky’s upcoming true-crime drama Landscapers.
Olivia plays convicted killer Susan Edwards in a “darkly comic” retelling of the Mansfield “garden bodies” murders of 1998.
With her husband Christopher, played by David, Edwards killed her parents Patricia and William Wycherley then buried the bodies.
The four-parter will air on Sky Atlantic this year.
ALISON’S CUDDLE TROUBLE
NOBODY on telly has hugged more people than Dermot O'Leary, so it’s only fair the favour gets returned.
As host of The X Factor, Dermot consoled countless wannabes. And it turns out he gets a huge squeeze from his co-host on This Morning, Alison Hammond, before every show.
The pals, who host the ITV daytime show on Fridays, will be reunited on the sofa next month following a break for the summer.
Alison said of their pre-show rituals: “Dermot will always come into the room, play some random piece of music and we all start dancing. That’s our tradition.
“If he doesn’t, something’s weird and the day goes wrong. Hopefully we can hug properly soon. Cannot wait.”
Dermot agreed: “I cannot wait for a legendary Hammond hug.”
KATE HAS AWARDS AMBITION
THE National Television Awards next month will be an emotional night if Kate Garraway gets her wish.
She wants her husband Derek to attend in what would be his first public outing since a long, hard battle with Covid.
Kate is nominated for her March documentary Finding Derek.
The GMB host said: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Derek was well enough to come? I was trying to work out the dates and see how the logistics might work.”
She added: “There’s some brilliant people (nominated). I don’t think we’ll win but it’d be lovely for him to be there.”
The shortlist also includes Marcus Rashford's Feeding Britain’s Children and Roman Kemp's mental health doc Our Silent Emergency.
MYLEENE KLASS has spoken about growing up with myopia and is urging parents to take their kids for eye tests.
The telly star, who is working with CooperVision, said: “I’d sit so closely to my sheet music or virtually on top of my workbooks at school. I found it all embarrassing.”
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