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Desperate Houses
Desperate Houses Revisited RTÉ One, Thursday 7.00pm

Programme 1

Francis Connell - Rialto, Dublin

Over two years ago Avril and the Desperate Houses team met Francis Connell who had lived in the same house in Rialto since 1939 when he moved there at the age of seven.

In the years following his parents' deaths in the 1980s, Francis' doors were closed to visitors. His house had been gathering dust. Not only that, but he stopped throwing things out. Upstairs it was impossible to walk into two of the three bedrooms, such was the build up of old newspapers and plastic bags. Downstairs things were so bad that Francis had not sat in his dining room for decades.

Although Francis liked to keep to himself he had been popping next door to Patsy for his Christmas dinner for almost 20 years. But it wasn't until three years ago that Patsy finally set foot inside Francis' home. She was shocked to see how cluttered the house was and immediately set about making changes. Together with her neighbours she de-cluttered and decorated his sitting room. And for the first time in over two decades Francis was able to use it. Even so, Francis remained resistant to further change so Patsy started working on him. Her ambition: to de-clutter and make over his entire house.

Months later Patsy contacted Desperate Houses. The scale of this job was unlike anything else previously tackled by the Desperate Houses crew, and the truth is they could not have handled it in the space of three days without the help of Francis' neighbours.

As well as the massive de-cluttering job, Avril planned to completely makeover Francis' bedroom and the dining room which had not been in proper use for decades. The neighbours challenge was to re-do Francis' hall, stairs and landing.

But Francis Connell was no push over. He had not thrown away anything since his parents died over 20 years ago. He'd been hanging on to old electronic equipment in the hope of getting it repaired some day, like his broken betamax video recorder and all his favourite old movies on betamax tape.

Between the Desperate Houses crew and the neighbours, 25 people start to work on Francis Connell's house - stripping away the years of clutter and dust to create an amazing transformation.

Over two years later, Avril revisits Francis to see if he has been able to maintain a clutter free existence? Was all his neighbours work and the Desperate Houses team effort all in vain? Tune in and find out!

Avril Murphy Allen and Francis in Rialto
Avril Murphy Allen and Francis in Rialto
Avril Murphy Allen, Francis and neighbours
Avril Murphy Allen, Francis and neighbours