The Big Breakfast house was a staple of our telly screens throughout the 1990s, with Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin welcoming viewers into the real residential property for its breakfast show.
Although AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan picked up the reins for the show’s return last year, the house has been beset by rumours of a ‘curse’ after it was hit with a horror blaze and burned down.
Despite its multi-million pound price tag, the property failed to find a buyer throughout its lifespan, and a new house was used for the 2021 relaunch.
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We take a look into the house’s notorious past, from a bombing disaster to its stunning renovations.
A dilapidated wreck
Formally named Lock Cottage, the Big Breakfast house is actually three small cottages knocked together.
The property was built in 1947 to replace the Old Ford Lock cottages, which were damaged by bombings during the Blitz in World War II.
It began life as a home for lock keepers, toll takers and navigation operators at the nearby canal, and was bought by British Waterways back in 1962 for canal upkeep purposes.
But shortly after, the decline of the nearby waterway meant the cottage fell into disrepair, and ended up standing derelict for twenty years – with broken windows and graffiti covering its walls. Even said walls were crumbling in on themselves.
Years of television history was destroyed after a mystery fire damaged the Big Breakfast house back in 2002 – months after the programme was axed.
Channel 4 owned the property at the time of the blaze, which completely destroyed Lock Cottage’s roof and nearly half of the first floor.
Twenty firefighters were called to the scene and spent two hours attempting to douse the flames, which started on the second floor.
At the time, they deemed the incident suspicious because the building was unoccupied, and no longer supplied with electricity or gas.
In total, the building sustained £400,000 of damage.
Presenters Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen were left distraught at the damage – and soon after, Channel 4 put the house up for sale for £1million.
Multi-million pound price tag
The fire meant Channel 4 was left trying its best to recoup the losses from the building, which eventually sold for just £600,000.
Soon after, scaffolding surrounded the building, with plastic tarp covering the damaged areas of the roof after a young family decided to purchase the property.
The family confessed at the time that they had never even seen The Big Breakfast upon buying the house.
And it didn’t end there. In 2021, the house was back on the market, this time for a whopping £6million.
Boasting a 19m outdoor pool and manicured lawns, the house also features a roof terrace, gorgeous open-plan lounge and spiral staircases.
The cottage has now been split in two, one 3,000 sq ft property and another 1,500 sq ft, with interconnecting doors.
The property is intensely private after being thrust into the public eye, nestled on the back of the River Lee and shrouded in privacy fences and garden.
But it wasn’t enough to tempt any buyers, and the house dropped from £6million to £4.6million after a number of months on the market.
Presenter Johnny Vaughan returned to the property in 2020, but confessed things just weren’t the same.
He said at the time on his Radio X show: “So many great memories, but it’s kind of hard to connect it with the house that’s here now because it’s just so beautiful and so enclosed.
"When I was here, you really had the sense of just canal and two cottages, but it’s a bit like…
"Being here today reminds me a bit like when I drove past a school I used to go to and the woodwork and metal work-shops have now been turned into these quite luxurious properties, they’d been converted, and I get the same sense that in both this building and that building, places where perhaps we weren’t meant to have that much fun, but we really did.
"So, quite an emotional visit, in its way."
Keen fans of the Big Breakfast will remember its 1994 competition, which saw viewers battle to win a £100,000 replica of the iconic house in Telford.
Winner Gillian Baker took the keys to the property in May that year – and her house was built in just 59 days by Second City Homes.
But the second home featured only two bedrooms and was two-thirds the size of the original – though it featured every little detail, down to the hand-painted fried eggs on the kitchen walls.
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