CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: A whisky for each day of the year – now that’s a right royal holiday!
Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby
Hayley Goes . . .
You have to wonder what Her Majesty loves so much about it. Early next month the Queen and Prince Philip will travel 400 miles to the banks of the River Dee and the baronial mansion of Balmoral Castle.
No one could blame them if they’re ready for a holiday after four months of lockdown in Windsor. We’re all getting itchy feet. But their holiday home is slap in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park, where it is hunting season . . . for the midges.
While human visitors might be hoping to spy a stag or a salmon, billions of insects will be intent on gorging upon the humans.
Hardly surprising that Meghan and Harry snubbed an invitation to visit last summer. The official excuse was that son Archie was too young to travel, though the Queen probably noticed that her grandson and his wife took their baby to Africa and then Canada a few weeks later.
We had an opportunity to find out on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (BBC2), as presenters Monica Galetti and Giles Coren visited a lochside five-star pile that was almost identical to the royal getaway
The rest of us are left wondering whether the place, with its turrets and Victorian chimneys, can really be as bad as all that.
We had an opportunity to find out on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (BBC2), as presenters Monica Galetti and Giles Coren visited a lochside five-star pile that was almost identical to the royal getaway. In the Nineties, the Torridon on Scotland’s romantic west coast was a fading guest house. Now it’s a luxury hotel where the best rooms cost £600 a night and look out onto fields of Highland cattle.
Every morning the chef wades out into Upper Loch Torridon to harvest seaweed, a delicacy of the kitchen. The balmy climate means grapes and even wasabi are grown under cover in the hotel gardens.
Giles and Monica were mucking around, as they usually do, like spoiled children on a school trip — constantly making jokes about cattle dung and toilet seats.
The pair of them bring out the grumpy schoolmaster in me: ‘Do you two think you’re funny? I can tell you that you’re not.’
They tried a spot of work experience, with Giles failing hopelessly as a waiter.
He sat down with the customers to take their order. The man is a restaurant critic, has he never noticed the etiquette? Perhaps he doesn’t spare the staff a glance when he orders.
Still, for those of us who haven’t an earthly hope of being invited to Balmoral, this was a tantalising glimpse of how the royals holiday. But surely they don’t have a bar like the Torridon’s, with a different single malt whisky for every day of the year. In the regal drinks cabinet, it’ll be gin!
The girl from Maesteg in the Welsh Valleys was simply enjoying herself with lessons in deportment and elocution
Chatterbox Hayley Pearce, who made her name as the brash tea lady in the workplace documentary The Call Centre seven years ago, knows she’ll never be royalty but was trying to better herself nonetheless by moving up a class in Hayley Goes . . . (BBC1).
Some producer had bolted a premise onto the programme, that in the 2020s social mobility is more restricted than ever. But Hayley didn’t care about that.
The girl from Maesteg in the Welsh Valleys was simply enjoying herself with lessons in deportment and elocution.
She claims she feels intimidated by Oxbridge types with their clipped vowels, but it’s hard to imagine the ladette whose mates call her ‘Fierce Pearce’ being intimidated by anyone . . . let alone a pink-faced boyo with a plum in his mouth.
Certainly etiquette expert William Hanson, who was trying to teach her table manners, seemed terrified. ‘My,’ he gasped, as Hayley swallowed a cucumber sandwich whole, ‘you can get a lot in your mouth, can’t you?’
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