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My First Home: Alex Horne

Death becomes him: Alex
was sold on his first home
because it was near Kensal
Green Cemetery PICTURE: GETTY

COMEDIAN Alex Horne, 39, is creator and co-presenter of comedy panel show Taskmaster. He’s a regular on 8 Out Of 10 Cats and is about to present a TV version of his comedy music radio show, The Horne Section.

What was the first property you bought?

My wife and I bought a one-bedroom flat in Kensal Green together when we got married in 2005. We’d rented separately before that. It was the ground floor flat of a Victorian terrace. It was a lovely street with nice neighbours and a sense of community. One of the attractions for me was that it is near Kensal Green cemetery, which is one of London’s ‘big seven’ cemeteries. I’d walk around there trying to think of jokes.

Were there any challenges with living together, such as annoying habits?

The main thing that became apparent was that I thought I could do DIY, but I can’t. My wife left me alone to put some shelves up and came back to discover I’d been to B&Q and put a plank of wood up on what I thought were brackets, but were actually things for hanging baskets.

Did you renovate the flat?

No. It was a small one-bedroom flat so there wasn’t much we could do to it — and we did nothing at all. We kept the original kitchen and bathroom. I was in my mid 20s so I doubt I realised you could change them. We did make one change to the living room. We put in some furniture from a Moroccan restaurant that was closing down. We got our kitchen table from there and a pair of lamps that needed wiring. That makes it sound like there was a theme. There wasn’t. It was 90 per cent Ikea with some stuff from a Moroccan restaurant.

Was it difficult getting a mortgage?

It was in the days when you could still self-certify. As a self-employed comic I had some things in my favour and some things against me. It was easier to get a mortgage then if you were self-employed, as you now have to supply years of accounts. Also, having two people helps, and my wife had a stable job, unlike me.

Where are you now?

Chesham in Buckinghamshire. We could afford a place with a garden, which we couldn’t in London. My wife’s parents live in Ireland and went to a wedding in Chesham and said: ‘It’s much prettier, safer and nicer so you should probably move there.’ We went for a visit and, annoyingly, they were right. We moved to Chesham and started a family straight away.

What kind of property is it?

A 1930s detached house with a nice garden. We got a man to build me a writing shed. It has electricity and running water. I use it to work in, and it’s good because there’s no internet connection, so I’m not distracted. I can’t work in the house. We’ve got three children so there’s plenty of noise. It’s also a good place to put all my junk as I’m a bit of a hoarder.

Have you made any changes to your house?

We’re currently doing a loft conversion. We’re turning it into an extra floor with a big bedroom and bathroom. Nothing has gone wrong so far, fingers crossed.

Have you taken any items of sentimental value with you on your moves?

We’ve still got the kitchen table from the Moroccan restaurant and the lamps. Other than that I have boxes and boxes of stuff, which is why the shed has come in useful. I’m really bad at throwing things out. I used to be the entertainment officer at college and I’ve kept loads of posters I made for gigs and parties. I have no idea why I thought they might be useful one day but I’ve still got them.

What would be your dream home?

Something the same size. Anything bigger just creates problems. You have to clean it and heat it. But I’d want an enormous garden with a tennis court and a wood nearby. It would also be somewhere that’s both by the sea and also near London, within close walking distance of a big cemetery and a crazy golf course.

Taskmaster returns to Dave for a new series on May 2 at 9pm. The Horne Section can be seen on Dave on May 24 at 9pm.