A quick chat with Kirstie and Phil

Property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer turn travel agents in their new Channel 4 series Vacation, Vacation, Vacation. TV&Satellite Week magazine found out more…

The first programme sees you going to Ibiza and ends with the two of you rowing. What was that all about?

Kirstie “Ibiza was a point of contention. Phil loves it and goes back to it most years. I’ve never seen the point of it. That’s our strongest disagreement. Ibiza is heinously expensive; Majorca and Minorca are prettier and 25 per cent cheaper. When people say they love it, mostly what they mean is they love their memories of when they used to go clubbing through the night there. I’m partly jealous. I never danced through the night because I was born middle-aged.”

Phil “Honesty is one of the things we want to run through the series. We were just being honest with one another about what we thought. Holidays are subjective. People want different things from them – whether they’re travelling as friends or in a couple.”

Kirstie “We’ve only had five or six rows in 10 years together. We’ve learned to avoid topics that might set us off – like the fact we’re both paid the same clothing allowance. He’s worn the same pair of shoes for three years. I have to work out complete new outfits for every show because otherwise someone will write in. On top of that, I have to do hair and nails and all that stuff. It’s grotesquely unfair that we do that on the same money as each other.”

Phil “I thought we’d agreed to avoid talking about that…”

What do you like most about one another’s broadcasting styles?

Phil “Kirstie makes magical TV moments. I never know what she’s going to say.”

Kirstie “He likes to be briefed and know what’s going on. I get bored if we prepare too much.”

Phil “It works as long as long as one of us knows what’s happening.”

Why do you think your TV partnership works so well?

Kirstie “We learned about TV together. We have a number of similarities. We are both one of four children. We both have very close families. We both have kept the same friends we’d always had. We both have partners who though very supportive couldn’t be less interested in us being on television. The TV industry only sends you mad if you make it the most important thing in your life. If you start believing your make-up artist is your best friend and start taking them everywhere with you – and that’s not meant as an insult to make-up artists – then something’s gone slightly AWOL. Neither of us do anything like that.”

Do you get recognised when you’re out?

Phil “We’re much more recognisable when we’re together, mostly because Kirstie has quite a loud voice and prefers to wear bright colours that draw attention to her.”

Kirstie “We flew back from the Maldives together after doing an episode of Vacation, Vacation, Vacation. The crew had already left, so it was just us. Nobody knew we were doing this TV series and as we walked past a couple in the airport the man said to the woman: ‘See I told you!’”

Phil “He didn’t know we’d been filming. The Maldives is the most romantic place in the world. He just put two and two together and thought we’d been away on a dirty weekend.”

What’s the most irritating thing about each other as travel companions?

Kirstie “The size of the wash bag that Phil takes everywhere with him. It’s three times the size of mine. Katie Price would be proud of the amount of face cream and so on he takes with him.”

If you could have a fantasy celebrity travel companion, who would you go on holiday with?

Phil “I’d go on safari with Ian Botham as my travel guide.”

Kirstie “He’d be more of a God than a guide for you though, wouldn’t he, Phil?”

Phil “Yes, it’s true. I’ve only met him once, but I used to make up scrapbooks of his achievements.”

Kirstie “Out of loyalty to my other half, I don’t think I’d want to say out loud that I’d like a week in the Maldives with Doctor Who. So I’ll have to say I’d love to go on a spa holiday with a gang of girl presenters like Holly [Willoughby] and Fearne [Cotton] and Davina [McCall]. That would be really good fun.”

Would you ever work with anyone else?

Kirstie “No. I’ve even thought about taking out life insurance on him in case he dies because I’d never work again. We were filming something with him hang-gliding on this series and I was surprised at just how nervous I was for him.

“I was doing a promotion thing for a DIY chain the other day and they wanted to photograph me with George Clarke from the Home Show. Don’t get me wrong, George is a lovely man. But I felt so uncomfortable being photographed with someone other than Phil.”

What moment from the series are you most looking forward to seeing again?

Phil “I can’t remember where we were, but it was the bit where a goat ate Kirstie’s hat before I could get close enough to rescue her.”

Kirstie “You didn’t even try to rescue me. You thought it would make good TV so you left me to it.”

Phil “Well, it was hilarious.”

Kirstie “It was NOT hilarious. You could have jumped over and helped me and if you’d been a proper gentleman you would have done. It was a really nice hat and I’ll never be able to find one like it to replace it…”

*Vacation Vacation Vacation premieres on C4 on Wednesday, March 30 at 8pm

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