Aired for the first time in October of 2002 and currently in its 19th series, the British daytime television show, ‘Escape to the Country’ is a reality tv show which shows the real estate buying and programmes. The show was created by Talkback Thames and premiered on BBC One. The show is also aired internationally by a broadcast syndicate.
The show focuses on helping potential buyers discover dream properties in rural UK. The discovery of these properties isn’t the interesting part of this show, showcasing the properties is. Three different properties are shown for inspection with a mystery property inclusive. Then the guests of the week are asked to guess the market value or price of the property. This market price isn’t arrived at arbitrarily, as guests are provided with some basic information about the area and history to help them arrive at a possible answer.
The show is aired in two different versions. There is the longer version which runs for 60- minutes and is shown on BBC One on weekdays and another at BBC Two at evening. Then there is the shorter version which is aired for 45-minutes and usually shown in the afternoons on weekday. Both versions are repeated during the week.
Starting from the 1st series, it was produced by Fremantle UK and began to show on air in 2002. The show rests on a certain premise which is, an individual or family choose to relocate from most likely the city to the country. What they, he/she wants is a more quiet, peaceful retreat. Now, it is the duty of the presenter of the show to find such a retreat for the buyer. The presenter goes about achieving this by finding 4 properties which the buyer gets to see from the screen of his/her laptop. At this point, the buyer has to choose to just 2 out of the 4 properties to go inspect. He or she can opt to choose the ‘mystery property’ by the presenter as one which they would view. This is the storyline for the series from season 1 to season 5 although we see an interesting episode in season 3 which had Catherine Gee as a presenter looking for a property for Ian Murphy, who was moving from Nottingham to Lancaster. You can get and follow this interesting episode of escape to the country watch online. The shows presenters from the start of the show till 2007 were Catherine Gee and Nick Page.
By the 6th season, some changes were made to the show. This was in response to the demand of viewers for more properties to be shown and also for more local listing and market value information to be shared. So, the producers changed the narrative to buyers viewing all four houses which are presented inclusive of the ‘mystery house’. The mystery house is an integral part of the show as it has a certain unique fact, quality that would either make the seller go for it or reject it outright. Then taster day was added to the show. This is a day when the presenters taste local dishes which are synonymous with that locale. They also get to visit local attractions, learn about the locale history to better understand the people who live there now and those who lived there before. This way they understand and also get a better feel of the community which they might just be moving into. From the 6th season the show was presented by Jules Hudson and Alistair Appleton.
At the start of the 10th season the show was modified yet again. This modification was in terms of the number of properties which was viewed by the buyers. It was no longer 4 but 3, with the mystery house inclusive. Season 12 of the show was notable because it had 75 episodes which were aired.
In 2012, series 13 began. Presently the television show is in its 19th season. The series have 63 episodes so far in this season. From Devon to Isle of Wright to Norfolk and Somerset, the presenters will continue their hunt to find that perfect rural retreat for their couple or buyer. With the start of the show in 2002, there have been different presenters on the show. Running down the list from the top is Catherine Gee, Nick Page, Jules Hudson, Alistair Appleton, Denise Nurse, Jonnie Irwin, Nicki Chapman, Melissa Porter, Aled Jones, Nicki Shields, Tim Vincent, Anita Rani, Sonali Shah, Ginny Buckley, Margherita Taylor, and Currently Steve Brown.
Although the show airs on BBC One or BBC Two, there are international broadcasts. Let’s begin with North America. In Canada, you can catch the show on CBC and also Gusto TV. In Europe, for the Netherlands, you can watch the show on SBS 6, IN Sweden you can catch it TV8, in Australia you can watch the show Seven Network which has a free-to-air channel called 7TWO. There is also the Lifestyle Channel which you can catch the show on also in Australia. The channel is on Foxtel Subscription TV. In the United States, you can watch the show Escape to the Country via streaming on Netflix. The show has been available for streaming since March 2017.
So, the answer to the question is yes, the show is still been produced. It can be called a success because it has been running for the past 17 years. This is truly an impressive record for a television show. This is in addition to the fact that it is viewed in other continents of the world. There is some spin off shows which were born out of Escape to the Country like Escape to the Continent where buyers are looking to purchase homes in exotic locations like Malta, Portugal. The series also takes us outside the UK now, sometimes with the same presenters or not, but the concept still remains. If you have not seen this television show, you can start today.