However, my other reason for liking the programme is because of the glimpses of people's lives that you get through their abandoned homes. It can be achingly sad and intimate, particularly when the former owner has lived there for many years and moulded the house into their shape like an old overcoat. One house belonged to a person who had gone into hospital suddenly, obviously expecting to return, but had ended up in a nursing home. An unwashed mug sat on a table, and there was a wooden chair in front of the gas fire, still with the imprint of the owner on the faded beige cushion. Tattered net curtains at the kitchen window seemed to have been repaired haphazardly by spiders' webs, and a quiet layer of dust settled on every surface.
It made me itch to get in there with a camera and document it all, which made me feel slightly guilty. But how would you feel if you bought the house? Clearing away a life like that would feel like clearing away a person's memories, and then erasing any vestiges of the person themselves.