Channel 4's The Hotel owner has no regrets about warts-and-all documentary

by James Stagg, Monday 18th April 2011 16:57

The owner of the Damson Dene Hotel, which features in documentary series The Hotel, has admitted it was a risk allowing cameras into his business.

Jonathan Denby, who owns South Lake Hotels, said he had no regrets having let 50 cameras be positioned all over the hotel last summer for the warts-and-all documentary currently being shown on Channel 4.

"I think the industry could be split in their views of the programme, with some not agreeing with the way we run the hotel and others being jealous with the amount of publicity we shall get," he said.

"But I don't regret my decision as I wanted to show the realities of running a three-star hotel out in the country, which is very different from the luxury hotels we usually see on our TV screens."

In the show Denby described his typical guest at the hotel, which he bought in 2000, as the "Mondeo man".

The first episode of the documentary featured a mixed bag of residents, including a young man who proposed to his girlfriend at the hotel. But some of the more interesting interaction was saved for the staff, in particular the Romanian general assistant known as Amos and the flamboyant general manager Wayne Bartholemew.

Channel 4 commissioning editor Simon Dickson said: "It is classic Upstairs Downstairs territory. The guests arrive with high expectations and most of the staff have just arrived from Eastern Europe. There is tenderness, culture clashes, surprise and some wonderfully flamboyant characters."

Sanjay Singhal, executive producer of Dragonfly, which also made the BAFTA-award-winning One Born Every Minute series, said the Damson Dene had been selected because it was a quintessential, provincial English hotel, which provided an interesting take on immigration issues with its large quota of East European staff.

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By James Stagg


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