The Great House Giveaway



Carys Davies (S4C version)

Simon O'Brien

Tayo Oguntonade (in rotation with O'Brien 2021-)


as Ty Am Ddim: Chwarel for S4C, 31 October 2019 to present

Chwarel for Channel 4, 5 October 2020 to present


Brookside actor turned property developer Simon O'Brien gives two people the chance to win possibly a deposit on a house.

He gives them the money to buy what we'd politely call a "do-er upper" and gives them a tight budget to do it up, the idea being they do as much work as they can themselves and calling in favours from family and friends. Two completely arbitrary format points bring the tension, first is that the two people are strangers (except in Wales where everyone went to school with each other by the looks of things) and secondly the house has to sell within six months - if not it goes back to auction.

Frequently our plucky pairs completely ignore our property magnate's advice of going for decent and functionable and blow the budget on high-end kitchens and bathrooms and ponder where the profit has gone. That's if they haven't ended up coming to blows regarding design ideas and amount of effort put in. Many episodes have ended with the contestants all but giving up and O'Brien having to come in and make it sellable.

At the end of the show we find out if it's all been worth it, with all the costs added up (cost of buying the house, the budget and overspend and the real killer: the taxes and insurance and utilities), what the house sold for hopefully the house making a profit, which our contestants split equally and keep. It's a resounding "no" to whether it was worth six months graft in many instances, houses that don't make a profit (whether through luck of the housing market or more usually poor judgement) or only make a couple of grand, but the occasional couple can strike gold and end up with £30-50k to split between them and more importantly a new friend for life.

Entertainingly hosted by Simon, who provides lightly acerbic commentary and opinion but seems genuinely thrilled or gutted for our couples (or at least the ones who put the effort in) at the end, all while spending the occasional day with them to teach them some of the tricks of the trade, so it's educational as well!


S4C title translated in English as "Free House"

Web links

BBC programme page (Series 1)

BBC programme page (Series 2-)

Channel 4 programme page


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