Posted by sean on June 24, 2020 at 11:56 am in Television with No Comments


I’m a little late to the party with this blog post, considering it is about a bit of telly from last week.

The TV show I am referring to is Four in a Bed. If you have never seen this programme before, you are missing out.

The gist of it involves four sets of bed and breakfast owners, who, across the course of a week, visit each other’s establishments. They must then rate the venue (out of ten), based upon a number of different categories, including how nice the hosts are, cleanliness, quality of sleep and breakfast.

As well as providing ratings, the B&B owners must also pay what they feel their stay was worth. This is generally based upon the advertised price for the room. As you can probably imagine, there are many under payments – some insanely low. These inevitably have hilarious results once revealed to the owners of the establishment being rated.

One of the funniest parts of the competition, is when the rival B&B owners are shown to their rooms. No sooner have they been left alone, they descend upon the usually spotlessly clean room, as if they were a forensic detective.

Nothing is left untouched, as bed sheets are removed and picture frames examined. Should a tiny stray hair be found on the originally covered mattress, the contestants (if you can call them that) react as if they have won the lottery.

This single hair, in a bedroom so sterile you could perform open heart surgery, usually means that instead of awarding the B&B ten out of ten for cleanliness, the “filthy” conditions would make it impossible to give anything about five.

The bathroom never fails to go unchecked, with the toilet and even the cleaning brush, receiving a thorough inspection. Any discovery of faecal matter, however small, is met with even greater delight than a hair in the bed. You haven’t lived until you have seen a couple in their sixties, punching the air for joy, after finding a bit of shit under a toilet seat.

In order to have enough material to fill each 22 minute episode, the B&B owner must demonstrate excellent hospitality, by showing their guests a good time, before taking them out for an evening meal.

A typical example of this could involve visiting a local farm and feeding the cute calves during the afternoon, followed by dinner at a nearby steakhouse. More often than not, the food is accompanied by an endless array of snide questions and bitching about one another – all fueled by a never ending supply of lager and wine.

The B&B owners will then return to their beds, although given how much they usually end up complaining about their lack of sleep, may as well kip down in the doorway of a nightclub.

Breakfast is always an interesting affair. Firstly, heaven forbid the owners ask their guests to decide the evening before what they would like to eat the following morning. Admittedly, I would find this rather annoying, but some of the contestants react like the hosts have shot their 98-year-old grandmother out of a circus cannon.

There will always be at least one person who will hate everything on the breakfast menu, despite the host creating a huge spread of delicacies, fit enough for Henry VIII.

Then there will be the prick asking for something not on the menu, which is totally obscure. When they are told that the chef is unable to meet their needs and serve them an elephant’s ear in a bun, they react like the host has urinated over their corn flakes… “How was breakfast? I’ll have to give a two out of ten… ‘Disappointed by selection. No Elephant Ears'”.

Now I have explained the entire concept behind the show, I can begin to tell of what brought me to blog. Trust me, the reason will be considerably shorter than the essay I wrote above!

The winner of Four in a Bed, is the B&B that earns the highest percentage of money from the fellow owners, in relation to what should have been received based upon the full asking price.

The a prize for humiliating yourself and risking the reputation of your business, is a Four in a Bed plaque. Woo-hoo.

No doubt the plaque will look fabulous stuck on the reception wall, as well as getting mentioned on the establishment’s website.

The plaque is a rather pointless prize, as is claiming to have won the competition, given how it is not a recognised award in the hospitality trade. I am sure established B&B owners without a plaque don’t lose any sleep over not having one. It’s a bit like Elton John and the Gallagher brothers feeling threatened by the X Factor winner.

Most real-life B&B customers (i.e. not contestants) will have probably never heard of Four in a Bed, so would take little or no interest in a bit of metal hanging from the wall.

The minority of guests that are familiar with the teatime TV treat, would most likely remember the B&B and it’s owners, for how they conducted themselves during the competition. The winning plaque would represent little more than a potential talking point.

Now that I have used my blog to trash the Four in a Bed top and only prize, I can make a second attempt to cover what I intended to be the original point this rambling post…

It was Karen and Graham Smith – owners of Tigh Na Leigh Guesthouse in Perthshire, Scotland.

Karen and Graham were the first to host in the five episodes aired last week, meaning that all four sets of B&B owners had not stayed at each other’s places or met until this point. This apparent coincidence allowed them to carry out their plan perfectly.

Tigh Na Leigh looked to be an upmarket guesthouse. Indeed, at the time of the episode being filmed, it boasted five stars. I seem to recall the prices to be expensive, but reasonable for the luxury on offer.

The quality of the establishment, along with Karen and Graham’s excellent hospitality and charm, saw the other B&B owners fall in love with them and their business – even appearing to overlook some minor issues with their stay, presumably so as not to upset who they then considered to be their new friends.

The three sets of B&B owners, who had been staying as guests of the Smiths, were all generous when it came to paying for their visit.

Things all appeared to be fluffy and nice. Everyone was smiling, being kind and generally getting on very well. As a viewer, I was disappointed. On the rare occasion when all four sets of owners do get on well, the week is usually boring and best left forgotten about.

This wasn’t going to be one of those weeks. In each of the three subsequent B&B visits, Karen and Graham revealed themselves to have a few rather nasty traits.

NOT ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY…

As soon as they had been shown to their room, the Smiths began their hunt for faults – discovering and harshly penalising their hosts for the most petty of flaws.

It was not uncommon for Karen to show her dissatisfaction at breakfast, on one occasion refusing to eat any of the food made available to her. As one of the other owners correctly observed, Karen had not ordered any hot food during her three stays.

Then there were the snide, bitchy comments, made by Karen and Graham. Attempting to justify their negatively towards every other B&B, by giving the impression that each establishment was beneath them. Pure snobbery.

An extremely heated final day rounded off the week. Feedback was reviewed and discussed, while payments counted. As you can probably guess, Tigh Na Leigh won. One major reason for this was because the victorious owners had underpaid everyone else – on more than one occasion, shamefully low.

For the first time in all the years I have watched the television series, of which there have been many, the week was concluded without a winner’s presentation. Clearly there had been a huge fight or argument off camera.

Before the credits rolled, Karen and Graham were shown holding the plaque they had clearly so desperately wanted.

While I am sure the award is hanging on a wall, somewhere in their Scottish guesthouse, will anyone who knows or cares what it is ever be there to admire it? I am sure there will be many Four in a Bed viewers, totally put off staying with the Smiths, after witnessing their undesirable gamesmanship. I’m one of them.

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