Famous for the hit home show Location, Location, Location, UK presenter and television personality Phil Spencer has had a shift in location himself, exploring New Zealand’s finest homes.
Spencer kept a relatively low profile at the early stages of his visit, but a Spy source said he had been spotted recently in trendy Point Chevalier, checking out an award-winning architectural gem, just around the corner from Taika Waititi’s new waterfront mansion.
But with fans in high places, it’s hard to stay under the radar for long.
Last Friday Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and Defence Minister Judith Collins proudly posted a picture of herself with 53-year-old Spencer at the ASB Classic.
“Was pretty surprised to find myself sharing the tennis today with Phil Spencer,” Collins wrote on Instagram. “He’s in New Zealand for filming some of our beautiful homes. Such a good tennis companion and all-round good guy. And … yes, he and Kirstie are good friends and good people,” she wrote.
Kirstie Allsopp is Spencer’s co-host on the long-running UK real estate show, which is not only a hit for the Brits, but also hugely popular on TVNZ1, however, Allsopp has not accompanied Spencer Downunder.
Nor, we understand, has his Australian wife, Fiona, who he lives with in Hampshire with their two sons.
Spencer cleared up speculation himself last Sunday writing on Instagram to his more than 150,000 followers: “I’m filming a new series at the moment looking around some of New Zealand’s best homes... so here’s some sunny pics from other side of the world.”
One follower wrote in reply: “I’ve always wondered if you’re lovely as you look Phil. And then a friend met you, and apparently you are.”
In a post on Wednesday evening, Spencer described the houses they have filmed so far as being completely off the charts, and said he had met with some of New Zealand’s finest architects, as well as some very cool owners of the homes.
On further investigation, Spencer’s new show is called New Zealand’s Best Homes with Phil Spencer.
The six shows of 60 minutes are being produced by Perpetual Entertainment, an international production company with an office in Auckland. The series is being filmed for Channel 4 UK, TVNZ and Foxtel Australia. A spokesperson for TVNZ confirmed the series would be shown later this year.
A synopsis for the show says Spencer travels to the other side of the world to look inside some of the most amazing homes that New Zealand has to offer. The stunning properties are revealed through the eyes of the people — the architects, the builders and the owners — who dared to dream them into reality.
Spy hears Spencer has also been to Queenstown and fans wanting to catch him are in luck — he still has a few weeks of filming left.
Spencer isn’t the only property star from UK television in New Zealand this summer. Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud hits the stage next month, sharing hilarious anecdotes, insights from his illustrious TV career, and even a no-holds-barred Q&A where the audience gets to probe McCloud’s brilliant mind.
Kevin McLoud’s Home Truths is on at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre in Auckland on February 5 and the following evening in Wellington at the Michael Fowler Centre.