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Net 5 Serie 1 Bouw je Droom- een nieuwe leven in een Frans kasteel. Volg onze avonturen in aflevering 16- 20

Engelse series 1 & 2- Escape to the Chateau DIY


Chateau des Lys features in week 4 of Series 2

For those who haven’t seen this it’s a UK based series following the lives and tribulations of English owners who have bought Chateaus in France. The DIY series is a spin-off from the highly successful “Escape to the Chateau” featuring Dick & Angel Strawbridge


In 2017 we were staying with friends in the UK. By coincidence episode 1 of Escape to the Chateau was being repeated on “More DAVE 203” or something and they insisted we watch it. We’d never heard of the show but it was amazing to see Dick & Angel Strawbridge living in Southend, Tim’s old stomping ground, prior to their acquisition of Chateau La Motte Husson and then grappling with it’s restoration. We’d done almost exactly the same thing at almost exactly the same time. The journey back to France the next day was filled with comparisons questions and discussions. When first we bought our Chateau it had been suggested to us that we do something similar in Holland but we were wary of throwing our lives open to such scrutiny- TV isn’t always benign.

The very next day back at the Chateau Margreeth was opening her daily deluge of emails and there it was- the ETTC production company were looking for people to participate in a spin off series. Serendipity dooh dah day.  We thought about it and decided to say yes. We’re not superstitious people in any way but the coincidence was so bizarre and they seemed nice enough. There were discussions and Skype meetings etc, and filming began in March 2017.  We had no idea of what would happen but the camera team (who pleasingly had also shot the first Dick and Angel series) would pretty much let us choose our own subjects, as long as they didn’t get too injured in the process. It sort of made itself up as it went along. The first series came out on Channel 4 in April 2018 and has proved to be one of the most successful shows they’ve had. It has been nominated for a broadcast award. The second series will start on 18 Feb 2019 at 5pm UK time and, as with the first series, we have absolutely no idea how they will tell the stories they filmed or which stories they will follow.  It’s a lovely thing to be a part of. We got to meet a few of the other Chateau owners, all amazing people including the Strawbridges whom one cannot help but admire, and to whom we are grateful, they really started something. The show has been sold to at least 18 different territories all over the world and counting and seems to be going from strength to strength. We get a lot of guests who seem genuinely fascinated by the whole thing and feel very connected to the people on the show. It’s great to be a part of something like this.


Now I know that one should never complain or explain but many of you will have seen the bit where we had to remove a beehive from a chimney on top of our Old Smithy. Because of the way that this sequence was cut it slightly gave the impression that we were being cavalier about this. The truth is that we’d already tried to have it removed professionally and get it relocated somewhere else. I like many other armchair apiarists mistakenly believed that it was just a question of removing the queen and then the others would follow and indeed this can be the case. But since our bees were ensconced in a chimney the only way to have done this would have been to break the whole thing apart, with no guarantee of success and far too dangerous to attempt. Unhappily they had to be destroyed as they were living in a part of the Chateau we rent out, often to families. So there was little choice but to do what we did. The day that this episode was broadcast also turned out to be the day that neonicotinoids were banned from pesticides, because they kill bees. The understandable backlash we got at first on social media was pretty scary, that stuff was all new to us anyway and we didn’t know what hit us, but having posted a few explanations like this one of what actually happened things settled down as people began to understand. Occasionally people still react as the series unfolds in different areas so if you’ve been watching then thank you and if you got upset by it then I don’t blame you, I didn’t enjoy doing it but there was no other choice. Actually we love bees and are planning to start making our own honey this year to go with our jams and ciders.