LONG, long ago there was an obscure little mid-afternoon show, watched only by a handful of retired folks, students and housewives.

It was called Come Dine With Me.

Obscure, that is, until I stumbled across it and suggested that the programmers promote it to the prime-time slot it so justly deserved.

And lo, it came to pass that not only did it become a mainstream ratings winner, but it even got its own celebrity version, starring glittering showbiz giants such as, er, Michelle Heaton, Peter Stringfellow and Dani Behr.

Now it is time for me to champion another hidden daytime gem that I predict will be in the main evening schedules before you can say: “What’s on after Corrie, love?”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you May the Best House Win (ITV1, Monday to Friday, 2pm), a brand new show in which each episode features four proud house-owners competing to have their homes judged best of the bunch and win the princely sum of £1,000.

If the houses were fabulous examples of the super-stylish, tastefully put-together gaffs of the rich and richer usually featured in swanky interior magazines, it would be a one-watch-and-forget-about-it job, but, joy of joy, they are not.

Essentially they’re either completely bonkers or the sort of homes you’ll find up any old road but which the owners think are the height of their very good taste.

In the first episode we had two that fitted nicely into the extraordinarily ordinary category and two that were firmly in the crazy camp.

There was the chintzy one, completely furnished with what appeared to be stuff off the prize bingo stall at a travelling fair, all crinoline dolls, ladies’ hands jewellery tidies and other assorted be-ribboned whatnots.

There was the pretty cottage, whose owner seemed to have followed one too many makeover shows and done it up in an ad-hoc contemporary style, thus displaying a total disregard not just for the house’s origins but the concept of originality.

Of course, both were pristine in that eerie, unloved and unlived-in way that show-homes are and both had about as much chutzpah. Best, of course, were the mad ones.

Corry’s place, The Tattoo Palace, was one of those glorious old triangular corner buildings in the heart of town and had originally been a pub.

It was now transformed into a sort of asylum for unwanted plants, weapons and poorly-executed taxidermy exhibits.

And it was fabulously filthy, with plaster peeling off the walls, ceilings caving in and frayed carpets that were virtual maps of every drunken party that had ever occurred there.

Festering dog beds, surrounded with bones that looked like they’d been gnawed from as far back as when the Pope was an altar boy, added a certain je ne sais quoi. My personal favourite was a large, suburban box of a house owned by a man who made gates but who, crucially, was also a massive Elvis fan, and so called the place, bestill my beating heart, Gatelands.

A jaw-droppingly tacky shrine to the King which, in its owner Terry’s words “loads of people who visited reckoned was better than the real Gracelands”.

Here was everything Elvis would have loved – life-sized cut-outs, clocks, cushions and bedspreads with his face on them, and in one room an actual pair of blue suede shoes with a sign next to them saying – yup, you guessed it.

Cancel my trip to Memphis right now and book me on the first coal-truck to Cannock.

More showing off was going on at The British Academy Film Awards, (Sunday, BBC1, 9pm) naturally, where the great and the not that good of the movie world came together to pretend that this awards night is just as exciting as the Oscars.

Bemused Americans, including Dustin Hoffman and Quentin Tarantino, sat trying to work out what Wossy was saying.

They knew who he was, they’ve all had their feet licked on his show and he is the BBC’s main film critic after all, they just don’t understand what he’s going on about.

Winners included Colin Firth (Best Actor for A Single Man) with a smug, over-rehearsed acceptance speech, Christoph Waltz (Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds) whose speech was a masterclass in humility and generosity of spirit, and newcomer and name to watch Carey Mulligan (Best Actress for An Education) with no speech at all – she’ll learn.

The Baftas are regarded as a precursor of what’s to come at the Oscars, so it is now taken quite seriously, hence this long-winded, dry old ceremony.

Saying that, apart from Mickey Rourke’s new Samurai ponytail hairdo, there was one thing that made it all very exciting and that was the unexpected success of The Hurt Locker, a beautifully made, relatively low-budget film about modern-day bomb disposal experts, which won a raft of prestigious awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Sound.

Even better, the Hurt Locker’s winning sound team includes a couple of local lads – the guy in charge is Ray Beckett from Bridport and 29-year-old Simon Bysshe, the boom operator, learned his craft at The Arts University College Bournemouth.

Now they are nominated for an Oscar, and are already over in the states rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite.

So when Ray, Simon and co win, we can all claim we know them really well.