Tradespeople don’t deserve the bad press, says TV presenter Mark Millar

Mark Millar, presenter of Channel 5’s Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms, and project manager on the BBC’s DIY SOS, believes the shows help present tradespeople in an excellent light to the general public.

On the latest kbbreview Podcast, Millar speaks about his relationship with the tradespeople on his shows and how much he admires these skilled workers.

When questioned about the public perception of tradespeople mainly being based around rogue traders, Millar said: “Unfortunately, we do see the side of that all the time. Bad press sells news, and people love to hear that sort of thing. I’ve been on SOS for 18 years and spent the past year on Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms, and I have come across nothing but professionalism all the way through.

“I find that generally in the trade world, there are a lot of professional people out there. And it always surprises me how much they care. Tradespeople take pride in what they are putting in a property. It is something that they have created. It is a work of art. I think of tradespeople as artists.”

He continued: “It is art and engineering mixed together. Don’t think of tradespeople as Joe Bloggs with a crack in his backside sticking over his jeans. These are very talented, skilled people.”

DIY SOS is filmed over 10 days and compresses almost three months’ of house and building work into a short time frame. During that period, there are almost 120 tradespeople working on-site. Millar noticed that all of the tradespeople had to become more creative with their way of working.

He said: “We do three months’ worth of work in 10 days and you need people who can work under that pressure. After about halfway through day one, people get into it, and they realise they have to push through, be ingenious, and think of the best way to get particular jobs done.” 

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Millar also commented on the current skills gap. He said that he had noticed a shortage of skilled people, especially as the demand in the construction industry has grown since the start of the pandemic. But also, he sees the shortage of new young people coming into the industry.

He said: “The manual trades have been left behind a little bit. I would say to the younger people who want to come into this that it is a fascinating place to start your career. I started as a joiner on building sites and I thought that this could be my life. I had no idea that I would end up on TV.

“The construction industry is a fantastic business to be in, whether kitchens or bathrooms or building houses. I see the building trade as artists and engineers – it is not just bricklayers, joiners, plumbers or electricians. It is a thinker’s place – a clever place to be. You use your brains and your hands.”

His latest TV show, Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms with Mark Millar, is in its first season. The show aims to give consumers a realistic look at what it is like to have a new kitchen or bathroom fitted.

Listen to the full podcast episode using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app of choice.

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