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Ever pictured yourself living in one of Bridgerton’s grand country estates? Could market trader Del Boy afford his Peckham flat today? And which characters’ homes have increased most in value since the time they moved in? We’ve valued the most iconic on-screen properties to find out.
The cost of renting these iconic on-screen homes
It’s no secret that property prices have climbed at record speed, and younger generations are finding it increasingly challenging to get a toe, let alone a foot, on the property ladder: so how much would it cost ‘Generation Rent’ to move into some of the UK’s most beloved TV and movie homes?
The average UK rental price in June 2021 sat at £1029 — up by 6.6% from last year. Only four homes in our study come in below the UK average: the homes in 2 Pints of Lager and Packet of Crisps, Derry Girls, Peep Show and Gavin & Stacey.
Due to average London rental prices being much higher (currently standing at £1,832), it’s not surprising that many London-set properties fell into the £1000-£2000 bracket, including Luther, Fleabags, and Mr Bean’s flat and Phil Mitchell’s home in Eastenders.
Three decades on from when Del Boy and Rodney Trotter first hit our screens, the famous 3-bedroom flat in Only Fools and Horses now sets one back around £2,300. Other properties with rents between £2,000 and £5,000 are Doc Martin’s cottage, Will Mckenzie’s home in Inbetweeners, and Sherlock’s infamous flat: 221B Baker Street.
Our research also quantified just how unrealistic show settings are. The family in Outnumbered may come across as the average middle-class family, but the actual home, a 5-bed, Victorian Terrace in a prime London location, would actually cost more than £7,000 a month to rent and £1,903,500 to buy.
Then there are the aspirational property rents which will make your eyes water. Could you picture yourself the lord or lady of the manor? If you wanted to move into Cruella’s ‘Hell Hall’ or the Duke of Hasting’s estate in Bridgerton, you would need to dish out £100,000s… a month!
Fictional homes: Values then and now
Back in 1813, one acre of land cost around £40, meaning that Castle Howard in York (where the Duke’s home was filmed) would have been valued around £352,000. Since then, the value of homes has increased by a staggering 61080%, leaving the current price at £215,000,000!
But what about more reasonably sized homes? In a few more decades, Del Boy really could be a millionaire. Since 1981, the value of his home has gone up by a staggering 1569% (from £36,400 to £607,100).
In Absolutely Fabulous, Eddy claims she bought her luxurious home for £1 million, according to house prices at the time. In true Eddy fashion she seems to tell quite a sizable fib: the home would have cost Eddy around £526,000 in 1992. She made a great investment though: today, the house is valued around £3,700,000.
Can our favourite fictional characters really afford the homes they live in?
We know that TV shows and films are exaggerated versions of reality, but some of the character’s homes are simply unbelievable. Mr Bean, for example, doesn’t have any clear employment or means of income. If he was on a job-seeking allowance of £299 a week, there’s no way he could afford his London rent today of £1,750 a month. Is he a squatter?
What about scheming market stall trader Del Boy? Today, a successful market stall trader could hope to bring home around £2000 a month, but even if Del Boy brought this home, he’s still shy of his £2,300 rent a month.
A more recent example would be the main character from After Life, played by Ricky Gervais. The character, Tony Johnson, is a journalist in a small regional newspaper. The show may be set in the fictional town of Tambury, but the home is actually found in a prime location in Hampstead, London, near where Ricky Gervais lives, an area in which a regional-reporter could only dream of living in.
Because of the UK’s housing crisis, most of us — and even some of our favourite characters — could never afford the gorgeous (and even normal) homes we see on screen. But whether it’s the Brown’s whimsical home in Paddington, or Sherlock’s moody bachelor pad, a great show transports us into places we could only dream of living in — if only for an hour or two.
To estimate the current value (Q2 2021) of the properties, we compared the properties to similar properties in each area. To find the original value, we found the percentage change of properties in the region from the original date using Nationwide’s house price index, and other separate sources listed below.