DANCING doctor Ranj Singh, 39, is one of the TV faces to appear on the new series of Strictly. He won’t be practising his fancy footwork in his compact Battersea apartment though — it’s too cosy for foxtrotting, but Dr Ranj didn’t want to buy anything excessively spacious.
‘I wanted to buy it because it’s a brand new build, so only a limited amount can go wrong, it’s fairly low maintenance, it’s not a huge amount of space to look after, and there’s a concierge for deliveries,’ says Ranj.
He bought the flat two years ago, after renting in the area for several years. ‘I was renting by Battersea heliport,’ he says.
‘It overlooked the river — the view was amazing. The helicopters flying right past the window were a novelty at first, but it wore off quickly and became noisy and annoying. And after a while it felt like I was throwing my money away.’
So he started looking for a new home, and decided on this two-bedroom flat in a new development.
Despite his showbiz credentials — he is one of This Morning’s regular medical experts — and his career as an accident and emergency paediatrician, he struggled to get a mortgage. ‘The London property market is very expensive, and it’s difficult to buy if you’re a single person on a single salary. It was difficult to get a mortgage, even though I have two jobs and my NHS work is fairly stable.
‘I just don’t think they thought I was a good prospect for a mortgage. I ended up getting a higher rate mortgage, as it was with one of the few providers who were prepared to offer me one.’
Ranj bought his flat on a share-to-buy scheme. ‘Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get on the property ladder,’ he says. He bought a 25 per cent share and rents the remainder.
‘What I’m paying now, with the combined mortgage and rent, is several hundred pounds cheaper per month than the one-bedroom flat I was renting.
‘So it makes financial sense. I also wanted to live somewhere I could put my mark on.’
To that end, Ranj has put up stripy, textured wallpaper from John Lewis, removed his hall carpet and replaced it with tiling, and turned his second bedroom into a dressing room.
‘I bought some wardrobes from Ikea, My brother helped me build them,’ he says. ‘I didn’t need a second bedroom and I have a lot of clothes so wanted to make sure I have room.’
Ranj has acquired lots of suits, due to his regular appearances on This Morning and his Bafta-winning children’s medical show, Get Well Soon. ‘I just have to wear scrubs for work, which is quite easy,’ laughs Ranj. ‘But the media stuff entails going to lots of events and being on screen, so I have a lot of clothes.’
Elsewhere, his showbiz connections have helped him out with his décor.
‘I’m friends with Derek Taylor, who is an interior designer on 60 Minute Makeover. I had no idea what to put on the living room wall, and then he suggested this art piece.
‘It’s a plastic cast of coral — you can’t have real coral as it’s illegal. He said it would be perfect, and I really like it. And because I got it from him, I bought it for a fraction of the price.’
Ranj’s flat is spick and span, and quite minimal. ‘I wanted it to feel like a hotel,’ he says. ‘I love staying in hotels, which is why I’ve gone for quite muted tones.’
In the short term, Ranj plans to staircase up with the share to buy scheme and purchase a greater percentage of his property. One day, he’d like to buy a house in Kent.
‘I don’t want to sell this place, I’d always want to keep it. For the price, I could have bought a four-bedroom house near my parents in Kent, but I don’t have any regrets.’
■ This Morning celebrates its 30th year from October 1, 10.30am on ITV. This Morning 30 Unforgettable Years will air on October 2, 7.30pm on ITV
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In a fizz
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