Last July I received an email from Studio Lambert recruiting B & B’s for the new series of 3 in a bed and this is the journey that it took me on……..
It was an entirely normal July day with my Inbox pinging away with the usual emails from work, friends and junk when one caught my eye with the subject heading “3/4 in a bed”. I had never watched the previous series where B&B owners throw open their doors and take turns to stay with one another - and pay what they consider fair for their stay with each other, so I was tempted to read further…..
Fast forward a month and much to the horror or everyone who knows us, (I quite understood their reservations about our TV skills) I had persuaded one or my greatest friends, Sheelagh Chetwode, who is a fabulous cook to take part in the show with me.
So one Wednesday in July, Sheelagh and I are rather nervously sitting in my kitchen not knowing how many people and cameras were about to turn up to do a pilot with us to see if we were entertaining enough to take part…..
We were a tiny bit disappointed by only one lovely lady turning up with one camera - there was certainly no make up trailer! But we must have impressed someone at Channel 4 (or not….) as we were bumped up from daytime 4 in a Bed to watershed 3 in a Bed.
Anyway sure enough the summer sped by and September arrived with our allocated 2 weeks slot for filming looming. I definitely had not just cold feet but frozen toes by this time but Sheelagh with her good Irish courage was not one for backing out…. The more I said we can pull out right up until we sign the contract the more she sweetly smiled and said - why would we want to do that?
I might add that between us we have 5 teenagers who could have come up with a 100 reasons for their mothers not to take part!
And then the email arrives from Channel 4 which gives us very basic instructions that we have to drive to Crewe and stay in a Premier Inn where we will be picked up the next day by a camera crew and a producer.
Well Monday night or not, a bottle of Pinot Grigio was consumed and general merriment and denial kicked in until 10 am the next morning whilst waiting for the crew to arrive, the cold harsh reality of what we were setting ourselves up for settled in our stomachs. Too late now for second thoughts.
But what fun we had from the moment we met Sam, Stewart, Melissa, Paul and his Tom Cruise lookalike - they made us laugh as much as we made them. We had no idea at all where we were going although we guessed it might have some form of night life as Crewe is a pretty big town.
So our first stay was with lovely Ray and Sonya, who are business managers running a very busy and happening party hotel for students. Our room was a little busy, we overlooked the main Crewe railway track and road but all this paled into insignificance when we realised the Box night club was on the same floor as our bedroom and about 15 metres away through fire doors. Tuesday night is party night and up to 400 students are bused in for free by the canny Ray for a night of fun and dancing until about 4 am when they hit the kebab shop just outside the hotel…..
However before the antics of the night were thrown upon us, we had a wonderful afternoon in the Cholmondeley Arms - team bonding with our other B & B owners, Norman and Jane. Sheelagh and I won the competition to make the best gin cocktail. The pink girly one triumphed. A good start we thought.
You are not allowed to ask each other any questions about each other so it did make it a little awkward trying to be friendly. But we knew Ray was on our side when he told us that that he had been asked “What do you make of the posh girls?!” and he replied “what posh girls….?”
After a yummy pub dinner we were filmed getting into bed with the noise from the night club blaring in the background and I said to Paul - Hurry up we need to get dressed again and go clubbing. He thought we were joking. He just didn’t know us!
So Paul quickly improvised, changed the format of the programme and filmed us getting dressed to go clubbing. When we arrived in the Box we were chased around the dance floor by numerous students happy to dance with their mothers generation in order to be on TV, a camera crew and people signing disclaimers saying that they were happy to appear on TV - surreal was not the word.
Let’s just say we had a real Patsy and Edina moment the next morning as our hangovers kicked in and we refused to be interviewed in bed without our dark glasses on.
So Sheelagh and I set off home to Maidford B & B to go shopping and do a quick last minute sprucing up and mostly to get an early night before they all arrived with us on the Thursday at 8 am - no rest for the wicked!
The Maidford B & B team bonding exercise was racing Ferrari’s around the Silverstone Circuit. Lots of my guests stay because of various events at Silverstone which is only 8 mins away so this was the perfect thing to do. Ferrari unbelievably offered us their cars for free and Silverstone said go where you like…. Thank you to both companies for an amazing experience and your kind generosity.
Driving a £250,000 car was a first let alone at huge speed around a track - it was awesome and memorable and I wasn’t the slowest - Phew.
Then off we set for a delicious dinner in the Crown at Weston where we all rebelled a tad and snuck in a few extra glasses of wine and let our hair down a little - we knew we had to make an entertaining programme but it does get exhausting being fed questions endlessly. It was nice to just chat - Not sure what the editing of this night will be like!
Never one to miss out an opportunity to help Susan Rose China who I help with their marketing, Susan and I planned a little surprise for our B & B friends at breakfast! We had made up a personalised mug for each of them with Hands off……… Mug on one side, and 3 in a bed, Good Luck! on the other side. We are so hoping that Channel 4 hasn’t edited it out…..
A weekend at home followed and then we were on our way to our final surprise destination in the Scottish Borders to stay in an eco friendly house run by Jane and Norman. It was no surprise to find out that in order to marry Jane, Norman had to divorce her first….. he was her divorce lawyer! We went to a glass blowing factory and enjoyed the stunning views of the Borders and then we had the Karma Sutra incident!
Sonya found a copy of it beside her bed which led to Norman being renamed naughty Norman - although he claimed no knowledge of knowing where it came from. When he asked Sonya what language it was in (he has lots of foreigners to stay), she said I have no idea I only looked at the pictures……
So who won? Wait and see - you will find out on Channel 4 at 7pm on Easter Sunday!!!
The Royal Hotel, Maidford B&B and Brae Cottage There's a listed building, a 'party pensioner', a nightclub, a student party, and Ferrari racing in the latest competition between three B&Bs from Crewe to the Scottish borders
This is from the Channel 4 website. It says it all…..