November 30, 2021

Dthconnex

Notable Woodworkers

Where Changing Rooms stars are now – cast not speaking, zoo scandal and vile cancer scam

8 min read

After 17 years off the air, Changing Rooms is making a spectacular return with a brand new makeover of its own.

There will be more tears, tantrums and sensational designs when the iconic DIY home improvement show airs on Channel 4 tonight.

Way back in 1996, Changing Rooms caught the nation’s attention as teams of top designers helped couples decorate a room in each other’s homes.

They would then meet up at the end for a dramatic reveal, which usually resulted in big smiles all round, although it could end in disaster and there were some horrific reactions.

One furious husband once claimed his room looked like “a w***e’s palace”, while Linda accidentally smashed a woman’s antique teapot set.

The mesmerising show, which was hosted by the much-loved Carol Smillie, pulled in a whopping 10 million viewers at its peak on BBC One.








Changing Rooms first aired way back in 1996
(

Image:

Press Association)



Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here .

Interior designers such as the fabulously-dressed Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and the very creative Linda Barker became household names.

Once Changing Rooms came to an end in 2004, some of the stars of the show have remained on our TV screens, but others have seemingly vanished into thin air.

One member of the team bought a zoo but was rocked by a health and safety scandal, another now designs knickers and there was also a horrific fake cancer scam and a former member of the team was sent sent to prison.

Now it’s back on our screens once again, but only Laurence is returning as Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson is now presenting the long-awaited new series.

Here’s what happened to the Changing Rooms gang after the original show ended.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen








Lawrence is the king of home makeovers
(

Image:

Daily Record)










Lawrence doesn’t speak to any of the Changing Rooms crew anymore
(

Image:

BBC)



The main star of Changing Rooms was definitely the flamboyant Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Millions of viewers tuned in to see what obscure and whacky designs he would come up with – as his unusual taste was not always a hit with the home owners.

One episode ended in chaos when Lawrence decorated a room entirely in animal print, which had been suggested as a joke by their neighbours.

The couple were visibly seething, with furious husband claiming it looked like “a tart’s boudoir” in dramatic scenes.

You’ll have done well not to have seen Laurence on your TV screen since Changing Rooms finished.

He appeared on every episode of ITV’s House gift from 2009 to 2011 and was a judge on Popstar to Operastar in 2010.

Laurence and wife Jackie were caught in a major scandal in 2006 during a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

They got to the final question but answered incorrectly, losing out on the £1 million prize and dropping down to just £32,000 to donate to charity.








Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen with the Channel 4 show’s presenter Anna Richardson
(

Image:

Channel 4)



However, show makers allowed the couple to return for the first time ever after grievances about their misleading question – with Celador admitting it “didn’t meet their standards”.

He’s recently made regular appearances as a designer on DIY SOS: The Big Build and designed a new artisan furniture collection last year.

Lawrence is the only original Changing Rooms star coming back for the new series – and he’s confirmed he’s made a “significant investment” in his leather trousers.

He admitted he is no longer in contact with his former colleagues and wouldn’t know how to contact them anyway.

“No. I don’t even know how to get hold of them. I’ve seen Linda a few times as obviously we’re in the same kind of world,” he said ahead of the new series.

“As far as I was concerned we made that show then 25 years ago and this is kind of a new incarnation of it.”

“I think 4 are right,” he added. “If you bring everyone back it’s like Jurassic Park 38. There has to be a reinvention.”

Carol Smillie








Carol was the show’s much-loved presenter
(

Image:

BBC)










Carol had a rather surprising career afterwards
(

Image:

ITV)



Carol Smillie certainly lived up to her name on Changing Rooms as she was always seen beaming whatever the outcome.

The popular presenter was the main host for 13 series and became a household name before leaving in 2013.

Her name and smile became famous, with impressionist Ronni Aconda coining the catchphrase: “I’m Smiley Smiley Carol Smillie.”

After leaving, Carol admitted she did enjoy it when couples who were only after “15 minutes of fame” got their comeuppance and hated their makeover.

Surprisingly, Carol went on a very different path and forged a career in acting.

She made her debut on stage in The Vagina Monologues in 2006 and going on tour for Hormonal Housewives in 2010 and even made her film debut in a short film called Infamy, where she was ironically playing a TV presenter.

Carole finished fifth on Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 and has also hosted the National Lottery and Channel 5 show Dream Holiday Homes.

In 2012, Carol joined forces with ex-tennis player Annabel Croft to create a range of women’s underwear to use specifically during periods and for women who suffer from leaks post-maternity.

She also became an accredited humanist celebrant and conducts non-religious weddings, funerals and baby-namings.

Linda Barker








Linda Barker is a top interior designer
(

Image:

BBC)










Linda has gone on to do many projects
(

Image:

Linda Barker/Kim Blake PR)



Linda Barker was the interior designer that everyone wanted working on their home.

She had unparalleled style and was the most trusted member of the team – until she accidentally demolished a valuable collection of antique teapots.

Linda’s floating shelf unit looked wonderful, but it ended in complete disaster when the free-standing shelves collapsed overnight, smashing all the teapots into tiny pieces.

She decided to leave Changing Rooms after not being offered Carol Smillie’s former presenting role.

Linda headed Down Under and finished third on the second series of I’m A Celebrity then moved into presenting, hosting ITV shows With A Little Help From My Friends, Under Construction and Building the Dream.

Linda became the face of some major companies, designing and advertising DFS sofas and cabins for Thomson Holidays as well as her own Crown wallpaper range.

No stranger to a celebrity TV show, Linda has dived into the pool on Splash! and won an edition of Come Dine With Me.

Linda currently writes and publishes design books and has her own fancy kitchen range.

‘Handy’ Andy Kane








‘Handy’ Andy was always on hand to help
(

Image:

BBC)



‘Handy’ Andy was very good with his hands, hence the nickname.

The chatty cockney builder was always there to help the designers create their vision in the real world and got stuck in with the DIY jobs that were too much for the contestants to handle.

Andy stayed in the crossover world of DIY and showbiz by jetting over to the US for the American version of the show, called Trading Spaces.

He presented three shows for UK Style, Garden Rivals, Room Rivals and Streetcombers and appeared on reality TV show I’m Famous and Frightened!.

One of his biggest programmes was Increase Your House Price By Ten Gran, where he led a team of four to improve a house’s value by £10,000 in just three days with a £1,000 budget.

Since 2008, Andy has also hosted a number of BBC Primary Geography programmes.

Anna Ryder Richardson








Anna became an interior designer after a career in modelling
(

Image:

Sunday Mail)










The Changing Rooms gang in 2002
(

Image:

BBC)



Having started off in modelling and then as a fitness instructor, Anna Ryder Richardson launched a career as an interior designer.

She became a firm favourite on Changing Rooms and was known for her bold colours and design choices.

In one of her most awkward episodes, Anna framed erotic French undergarments and placed them around the room.

When the stunned home owner saw them she screamed and tearfully cried: “Why would I want this s*** in my room?! I’ve got children!”

Anna also had a stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle n 2007, hosted BBC shows House Invaders and Staying Put and was a designer on Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover in 2017.







Anna became owner of a wildlife park



In 2008, Anna completed her lifelong dream of owning a zoo when she purchased Manor House Wildlife Park in Pembrokeshire for £1 million.

This led to a load of TV series about her experiences looking after animals ranging from tigers, rhinos, and zebras to rabbits and parrots, including Chaos at the Zoo, Anna’s Welsh Zoo and Wild Welsh Zoo.

However, disaster struck in 2012 when she was charged with health and safety violations when a mother and three-year-old son were injured by a falling tree.

Anna was cleared of all wrongdoing as there was no evidence to link her to tree management – with the judge stating the work fell under her husband’s remit.

After setting up her own charity to transport neglected lionesses from an abandoned zoo, The Nature Foundation, she sold her park in 2018 and went to live in France.

Elizabeth Wagstaff








Elizabeth Wagstaff was sentenced to one year in prison
(

Image:

BBC)



Makeover expert Elizabeth was the culprit of a vile crime which saw her handed a one-year prison sentence in 2000.

She falsely claimed she had terminal cancer to deceive her friends and colleagues out of more than £54,000.

Lying Elizabeth said she needed the money for medical treatment in America, but used it to buy expensive food and designer clothes.

She took £13,000 from her then boyfriend and large amounts from some of her Changing Rooms co-stars and the show’s producers.

Wagstaff pleaded guilty to 14 counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception and four of obtaining property by deception.

Judge Quentin Campbell told her: “The nature of your deceptions was particularly cruel and unpleasant. There cannot be anyone in this court who has not had a friend or relative who truly does suffer from cancer or had died from that disease.”

Laura McCree








Oliver Heath and Laura McCree on Changing Rooms
(

Image:

BBC)



Interior designer Laura made her big break on Changing Rooms while building up her own business and releasing a range of designer chinaware.

Now living in Manchester, she is head designer of Landan Ltd, which specialises in spatial architecture interior design.

Having first started off a painter, Laura uses her creative design skills while working with private clients on big projects.

Laura, who has two kids and seven pets, has created houses for a number of big name Premier League footballers including Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.

Graham Wynne








Carol, Andy, Graham and Linda met up for a reunion
(

Image:

Collect Unknown)



As one of the show’s main designers, Graham was always seen squirting a glue gun or with a bit of fabric in his hand.

Graham has seemingly left the world of showbiz, with his last TV appearance in a 2006 on documentary show Now That’s Embarrassing: The 80s alongside actor Ralf Little.

While Graham might not be on our screens anymore, he did meet up with some of his former colleagues during a reunion recently.

*Changing Rooms airs tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm

Do you have a story to share? Email [email protected]