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Channel 4 Grand Designs: Life of Kevin McCloud Before TV by Designing Costumes for Stephen Fry and Dating a Dead Ringers Actress

Kevin McCloud has been the host of Channel 4’s hit show Grand Designs about home building for 22 years now, having hosted since the very first episode in 1999.

Understandably, having been on prime-time television for over two decades, Kevin is a household name, filming over 200 of the hour-long episodes in which the show is featured.

What you might not know is that before he was on our TV screens, Kevin was already leading a pretty interesting life, notably with an actor in the Dead Ringers TV series and designing costumes for a national treasure.

Kevin’s love for home design began early in life, as he and his two brothers were all raised by their parents in what he called a “very happy” Bedfordshire home that they had them. -same built.

He attended Cambridge University where he was a member of the Footlights comedy troupe alongside iconic duo and national treasures Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as well as theater world titan Emma Thompson.

Kevin was actually the costume and set designer in Footlights, so his role was to create and adjust the costumes that these legendary actors and comedians wore during their time with the group.

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Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson were all in the limelight along with Kevin who designed their costumes and sets.

Not bad considering he hadn’t even left college at this stage!

Speaking of his time at the Sydney Opera House, he said: “I think, at the time, even still with the threat of an editorial crisis or a review looming over you, of being asked to do things or to get involved in things or to go to an audition and get a role, whatever it was, or to join a choir and sing, you knew you were doing it with interesting and talented people.

“And, it was a little intimidating and a little, you know, yeah, humiliating at times.”

He also ended up doing set design for experimental rock group Harvey and the Wallbangers before starting his own lighting design company McCloud Lighting.

It was so successful and demanded that he was able to design the Rococo-style carved and painted green ceiling in the food halls at Harrods.

He also designed the lighting for Edinburgh Castle, the Savoy Hotel and the Dorchester Hotel.

During his time on Grand Designs, Kevin, 62, became a bit of an unlikely crush, but before hitting television screens nationwide, Kevin was dating a TV star himself.



Kevin admitted to dating Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens (center) when they were in college together
Kevin admitted to dating Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens (center) when they were in college together

He dated Dead Ringers star and impressionist Jan Ravens for a while when they were in college together, she later rose to fame for her impressions of figures like Anne Robinson, Margaret Thatcher and others over the course of ‘a period of five years from 2002 to 2007..

The couple did not last however, Kevin married his former wife Suzanna in 1996 until their separation in 2019.

Kevin has four children, Hugo and Grace, from previous relationships, and Milo and Elsie, whom he had with Suzanna.

Did you know Kevin had led such an interesting youth? Let us know in the comments here.

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