THREE IN A BED
Filmed November 2009 and first broadcast April 2010, this first series of the programme which went on to become a very popular viewed series and changing it to 4 IN A BED - the first series had the most impact on the audiance and we were thrilled to be asked to be in it and thrilled that it worked out so very well for us.
At the initial interview I had voiced some stuff from my past and was asked by the producer if they could use this in the programme, and when I said yes and they responded that I was being very brave, I had to state that every time you see a programme about sex workers on telly, they were often / always portrayed in a very negative light and how the TV crews always seemed to pick the victims, those who seem not to have any other choice in life, and that I wanted to offer a different side to the story - a more upmarket, classy, educated and above all - TAX PAYING - story of once being a prostitute.
The producer was thrilled and I could see viewing figures ringing up in her mind and we did share a giggle.
When it came time to film I drove to Avesbury the night before ;- where the crew had put me in another B&B overnight, and then met me in the morning and I was filmed driving to our first destination which was just a few miles away.
As usual with reality TV programmes, they sort out beforehand who will make the best TV and putting me up against a homophobic bigot - ( actually a very nice and educated man with a family - who was clearly scared shitless of me, ) was interesting. Pomposity and arrogance do not rest well with me and his manner in trying to ' take me on' throughout the programme was a bit naive on his part and from the start, he could tell I was no ones fool and from the start, it was clear I was not going to be walked over, and yet he did keep trying.
The other couple were lovely, an older women with a 20 year younger husband and they were a delight. They enjoyed a good laugh, a glass ( or two ) of wine and had no air of pretentiosness, and their venue was ' up north' and truly a 5 star gold venue.
Anyway, the homophobe voted me down because I had only paid him half as at £250 a night and with almost no service for this money AT ALL, I paid half what he was asking so he took umbridge and as they visited Hamilton Hall second - from the moment he walked in the door - he was determined to find fault in anything and everything and he really just made himself look the fool, and millions at home watching agreed, he was a fool.
He complained and bitched from the moment he came in the door and when at the end of his nights stay here he paid me £35 for a double room for 2, the film crew gasped - and the director asked if this was okay with me, and like being ' Ready for my close up Mr. DeMille' - I took a deep breath and let his politely have it with both full barrels. I spoke clearly and - basically - put him in his spot and read the riot act at him, as doubting our Not For Profit aspect - which he claimed was his excuse, was redundant in a world of big business screwing everyone, and he absolutely was all about making as much money as he could and everything was to be charged as an extra, and that is just so not how I work at Hamilton Hall.
Anyway - he made himself look foolish and I suppose I put the cherry on the cake and he was left with nothing to say.
The other couple in the north had a delightful venue and they really did deserve to win, and even there, he tried to put them down with rude comments, patronising atitude and arrogance and twice the filming was stopped because they would not put up with his rudeness, and it was all such fun. I loved every minute of it.
Once again I gave him a few words of home truths and he really could not accept anything we said and it was afterwards that he realised he had not been - as he kept claiming - ' a wake up call' ' for me and Hamilton hall - and the wake up call was very much the other way around - and the public loved me and disliked him with a vengance. I did try warning him on several occasions, but he just kept digging himself into that hole and even with warnings, he just kept digging.
After it was over, we had thousands of e mails of absolute praise from the straight world, and a few bitchy e mails from gay men ( says a lot ) and that summer was the best we have ever had and I managed to have the whole building double glazed with the extra business it brought in. Hoorah.
For him, he received thousands of abusive e mails and he had to reduce his tariff to half the original and closer to what I had paid him as the public really turned against him and emotionally and financially, he suffered.
This saddened me as he was not a bad man, not evil or horrid, he was just scared. He was scared of me and all that I stood for and we all knew exactly what his problem was, as did the viewing public, and yet he ran away from the reality and I did feel desperately sorry for him, but amazed at how well the production company had read him - and by combining me with him, had made for really good TV - and not just about 3 competing B&B's, but about homophobia, bigotry, bullying, sexuality and the sex business as well as running a B&B.
Having watched loads of other programmes in the series since then, it has amazed me how awful, how cringey, some of these other owners are and how picky they are.
YOU WILL find dust. YOU WILL find pet hairs. YOU MIGHT find a pube in your shower and as I am not asking you to lick it clean - just rinse it down. YOU WILL find things to complain about and bitch, and from the decor to the food you could, if that is your manner, find a lot of things to moan about and IF THAT IS HOW YOU VIEW LIFE - then I feel desperately sorry for you and maybe, just maybe, you need to get a reality check.
Taking drawers out of a chest to see how much dust was inside - Climbing on top of chairs to see how much dust is on top of the wardrobe - Stripping the bed completely to see the state of the matress and taking up the drain in the shower to see if there is much down the trap, is desperately sad if that is how you behave.
During filming the crew asked me to go through the bedroom I was offered at both venues and point out what was wrong with the venue, and I commented that that was not how I went through life as I looked for what WORKED - what was GOOD and what IMPRESSED and that if on the other hand something really SMACKED ME IN THE FACE - then I would mention it, but otherwise, I - like most of our customers - go away for a few days to have a good time and not to go looking for things to complain about, as what does that say about the persons mental framework.
It is not always easy, but I try and live in a positive place and not a negative one, and so many hoteliers in the series are dreadful people, looking deliberately to knock and destroy even a venue that clearly outshines theirs and I could never put someone down when clearly, their place is superior. It is only fair and true.