Escape to the Chateau
|Escape to the Chateau|
|Narrated by||Tracy Ann Oberman|
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||19|
|Running time||55 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Rapid Pictures, Spark Media|
|Original network||Channel 4 (UK)|
|Picture format||16:9 1080i|
|Original release||5 June 2016 –|
|Followed by||Escape to the Chateau DIY|
Escape to the Chateau is a Channel 4 documentary series which follows the story of couple Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree along with their family as they buy, renovate and restore the 18th-century Château de la Motte-Husson, and simultaneously juggle growing both their business and family. The first series follows Dick and Angel's quest to restore the chateau from its uninhabitable state by installing running water, heating and electricity throughout the 45 room castle, which hadn't been lived in for the past forty years. They're working against a deadline: their own wedding, which is to be held at the property. The second, third and fourth series continues their story as they grow their events and wedding business and continue restoration, renovations and maintenance of the castle, and document the family events and milestones going on around them.
Formerly a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army, Strawbridge has appeared on numerous television shows such as Scrapheap Challenge (2009), It's Not Easy Being Green (2006), Coast (2006), The Hungry Sailors and Saturday Farm (2011), Dirty Rotten Survival (2015), and many others. However, his engineering and food experience is highlighted in Escape to the Chateau, with his can-do attitude and engineering expertise often making the work on the chateau never cease.
Adoree, who runs a hospitality business called The Vintage Patisserie where she appeared on Dragon’s Den, provides the creative factor and unique flair of the show, often encouraging Strawbridge to add her style and interior decoration skill to the castle as well as the interest in hospitality and entertaining to make their guests' memories there to last.
|Season||Episode number||Title||Description||Air Date|
|1||1||Finding the Chateau||Dick and Angel find their castle. Looking through the large list of restorations needed, Dick begins with a heating system.||5 June 2016|
|1||2||Chickens, Heating and Blank Canvas||The deadline is approaching, and the budget is left with £20,000 to finish refurbishments.||12 June 2016|
|1||3||Pineapple Chandeliers and a Wedding||Dick and Angel are expected to marry in a few weeks at the chateau, but they still need to fix more rooms to house and cater to their 200 expected guests.||19 June 2016|
|2||1||Pig Roaster and Versailles Loo||The couple begins to grow their events business as the chateau. Dick prepares for their first paid event by making a DIY pig-roaster. Family life also expands with their three-year-old son Arthur’s first day at school. Angel creates a Versailles-inspired downstairs toilet.||27 November 2016|
|2||2||Fishing, Foraging and an Elevator||Dick and Angel want to enhance their money-making prospects with the possibility of fishing in the moat and installing a lift in the turret.||4 December 2016|
|2||3||Christmas at the Chateau||Christmas is coming. Angel prepares the Christmas festivities and Dick prepares the food, in time for the family coming from England.||11 December 2016|
|3||1||Only 20 Rooms to Go xxx||Angel and Dick keep working on the twenty rooms that still need fixing.||24 September 2017|
|3||2||Spring||Dick tries to tackle his walled garden. Angel creates a boudoir in the castle. Guests propose during a food event.||1 October 2017|
|3||3||The Wedding Season||The wedding season is approaching, so Dick needs to clean out and prepare the barn for the events.||8 October 2017|
|4||1||Weddings, Stables & Staircases||A busy summer with seven weddings and fourteen food lovers' weekends to prepare, as well as fixing the stables and gardens.||18 March 2018|
|4||2||Harvest and Birthday||Angel plans for a floating geodesic dome over the moat. They celebrate Dick’s birthday.||25 March 2018|
|4||3||A Floating Dome||Dick tackles the chateau's crumbling stucco while Angel finishes the geodesic dome over the moat. The family use it well with a sleepover under the stars.||1 April 2018|
|5||1||Glamping||Dick and Angel throw open the shutters of their French chateau for a new season, as they work to create a luxury glamping experience and contend with frequent rainshowers.||11 November 2018|
|5||2||In the Attic||Angel plans a stunning attic studio. She and Dorothy go on a mother-daughter trip to Paris and Dick's busy in the outbuildings. There's a surprise birthday event - with popcorn.||18 November 2018|
|5||3||Parkour & Turret||Angel creates a series of rooms in the chateau's pepper-pot turret. Dick opens up a parkour fitness trail in the grounds, but he hits an unexpected snag.||25 November 2018|
|5||4||Peak Summer||It's the height of summer and the heat is on for Dick and Angel, with the peak of the events season, wedding cakes melting, school holidays, a boating lake, and a leaky boat.||2 December 2018|
|5||5||Cafe Grandma||Before winter sets in, Dick ploughs the wildflower meadow and joins with Angel in bringing the dilapidated coach house back to life, in a bid to create 'Cafe Grandma'.||9 December 2018|
|5||6||Harvest Time||It's harvest time at the chateau. But there's still time for family wheelbarrow races, to give the basement a swish makeover, and to convert the old piggery into a chicken coop.||16 December 2018|
|5||7||... at Christmas||Dick and Angel are preparing for a magical Christmas at the chateau, with festive treats for family and friends, including Dick's walnut wine and a super-sized Christmas tree.||23 December 2018|
Background and production
Dick Strawbridge invited Channel 4 to join them documenting their journey in searching for a house. The couple had already spent four years searching for a home to bring up their two young children, Arthur and Dorothy. In contrast to many other home shows, the television coverage was never planned, but Channel 4 paid to document the journey which lifted some of the weight that such a large task would cost. This was in the form of the presenter's fee, in addition to the exposure from the shows advertising, that has allowed the business to uphold its popularity as a wedding and events venue.
The appeal of the show may be due to the affordability on face value and lack of demand for such French properties, which attracts many English home buyers. That was the same story with Dick and Angel as when they first started house hunting in France, they were looking at more modest properties such as small farmhouses, until they realised that at such low prices, they could buy a castle. For £280,000, they purchased a chateau that lists forty-five rooms, a walled garden and surrounded by a moat on a twelve-acre property, ten times larger than the average British house. However, the show makes viewers aware of the large restoration and running costs of such projects, which can become costly for people trying to make a business out of these castles. 
With policies on rehabilitating older houses introduced in the 1970s, National Housing Agency (ANAH) was created to promote the improvement of older private dwellings, which can either improve or hinder the process. Another way to gather funds is through shareholdings schemes. This was seen in Escape to the Chateau D.I.Y with the couple renovating Chateau De Jalesnes, who used wealthy French nationals as shareholders. Another example, was through a GoFundMe page that saved 13th century Chateau De La Mothe-Chandeniers by receiving €500,000, that now has thousands of shareholders, invested in its restoration.
History of Chateau de la Motte
From the twelfth to fourteenth centuries the site of the chateau was used as a fortified stronghold in the parish of La Motte. In 1406, the Husson family, the Seigneurs of Montgiroux, named the castle Chateau-de-la-Motte Husson.
The de Baglion family acquired the estate in 1600; after that it was rebuilt within the square moat during the period 1868-1874. The current façade is reflective of the efforts of Countess Dorothée who told her husband that she wanted a grand chateau. The chateau served as a summer retreat for the family.
Escape to the Chateau D.I.Y
Escape to the Chateau D.I.Y. follows Dick and Angel again giving their tips to other British expats in France trying to run a business from chateaux in a similar condition to their own. It follows their renovations and possibilities for generating profit. The show has one series with twenty episodes. The initial broadcast was on 9 April 2018 and the series concluded on 29 March 2019.
|Episode Number||Description||Initial Air Date|
|1||Dick and Angel give Jonny their tips and tricks on how to find the perfect Chateau, without falling into a money pit.||9 April 2018|
|2||Jonathan and Michael try to start making money through booking a wedding of an American couple. Also, Dick and Angel help Jonnie and Ashley search for their own chateau.||10 April 2018|
|3||Philip and Angelina get a visit from Dick, and with his engineering expertise; helps them build a bridge for the chateau. Meanwhile, Jonny and Ashley are still hunting for their dream Chateau.||11 April 2018|
|4||Jonathan and Michael hunt for treasure in their caves of the Chateau; treasure in the form of a stash of wine from World War II. On the other hand, Fiona starts renovations in the dining room.||12 April 2018|
|5||Jonathan and Michael have help from investors to keep their dreams of renovating the chateau afloat, however their meeting with the investors about keeping their goats did not go well. Philip and Angelina must fix the toilet at their own anniversary party.||13 Apr 2018|
|6||Mandy and Steve have decided to build a swimming pool at their chateau in the Dordogne. Michael requests the aid of Angel’s touch to do afternoon tea for the locals.||16 April 2018|
|7||Jonathan and Michael’s first wedding booking is approaching. With that comes preparation, and several problems; notably a sewage issue that threatens the whole first floor. Steve and Mandy are stilling having pool problems.||17 April 2018|
|8||The first wedding guests of the series are here. With that, Angel shows Michael and Jonathan tips to keep wedding costs low but enhance the experience. For Mandy and Steve, the pool continues to be an issue.||18 April 2018|
|9||New couple, Tim and Kys join the show in the Dordogne. Colette and Paul try to launch a new menu. Donna believes a horde of ancient armour was hidden in her chateau's lake.||19 April 2018|
|10||Dick and Donna's search for the armour in the lake continues. Tim and Krys struggle getting the attic converted in time.||20 April 2018|
|11||Dick's building a compost toilet for use at outside weddings, Billy and Gwendoline want to open their chateau as a wedding location, and Clive and Tanith need to win over the locals.||23 April 2018|
|12||Billy needs to repoint the chimney, however, the task is a lot more difficult than it sounds due to the fact that he is afraid of heights. Meanwhile, time is running out for Marian and Tanya, plus Clive and Tanith get stuck into some hard labour.||24 April 2018|
|13||Billy, Gwendoline and Michael want to finally move into their chateau, however, the kitchen is still not finished. Paul and Karen devise a plan to get more bookings. Clive and Tanith try to bring a couple together.||25 April 2018|
|14||Billy and Gwendoline have a boar that's making a mess off the property, which needs hunting. Clive and Tanith utilise their garden by making a dish out of its content. Paul attempts to convert the water tower into an office.||26 April 2018|
|15||Billy and his dad do some DIY with levelling the patio. Paul and Karen have nearly finished their office conversion. Meanwhile, Clive inspects a strange nest in his orangery.||27 April 2018|
|16||Tim and Margreeth plan to sell 'gite timeshares', which is a form of holiday renting to increase income and returning customers. Nicole and Stephan choose to convert their hall into a tearoom. Alison and Paul are adding to the chateau features by creating a 'wedding terrace'.||30 April 2018|
|17||Nicole asks Angel for some styling advice about wallpaper. Easter is coming and Tim and Margreeth are getting prepared. Meanwhile, Paul and Alison show off their new wedding terrace with a party.||1 May 2018|
|18||Tim and Margreeth concentration is on refurbishing a caravan in their park. Paul and Alison haven’t given up on the possibilities that secret tunnels exist on the property.||2 May 2018|
|19||Dick and Angel give some advice and plans for Tim and Margreeth’s business in hospitality. Stephanie gets ready for her single’s weekend event. Sophie and James need to get some funds fast if they are to keep their chateau afloat.||3 May 2018|
|20||Tim and Margreeth get started on their new business venture with research. Stephanie's singles weekend event is here. Sophie and James hold a walking event near their chateau.||4 May 2018|
|Episode Number||Description||Initial Air Date|
|1||Dick Strawbridge joins Elaine and David as they search for the dream chateau, and Tim and Krys are revisited as they prepare to re-launch their business||18 February 2019|
|2||Couple Tim and Krys race to get their chateau ready for their guests; Elaine and David visit a 17th-century ex-priory in Normandy; and Steve and Angela refurbish a master bedroom.||19 February 2019|
|3||Belinda travels to Dick and Angel's chateau to learn the art of decoupage, and wannabe chateau owners Elaine and David visit a 19th-century chateau with 18 rooms and two gites.||20 February 2019|
|4||Dick shows Tim how to put on a gourmet weekend, and Angel has a heart-to-heart chat about chateau-living with Krys. For Belinda and Lee, it's arrival day for their first guests.||21 February 2019|
|5||Tim and Krys have their first gastronomic weekend; Belinda and Lee host their biggest event so far with dancing and a slap-up meal; and Dick visits Angela and Steve to lend a hand.||22 February 2019|
|6||Dick helps Tim and Rebecca find their feet in a dilapidated chateau with no plumbing. Edward and Anna expect 185 guests in their fairy-tale chateau, but things don't go to plan.||25 February 2019|
|7||Tim and Rebecca call in their mates to help with restoration work. Dick and Angel host a very special wedding for close friends. Motorcycle-mad couple Martin and Kim search for the perfect chateau.||26 February 2019|
|8||Tim and Rebecca battle to get their chateau looking tip top for a tour operator. Martin and Kim continue their search, and Karen, Paul and their children are back.||27 February 2019|
|9||Tim and Rebecca receive a booking and prepare for their first paying guests. Martin and Kim take their chateau search up a gear. Paul and Karen set out to create a cinema room.||28 February 2019|
|10||Anna and Edward host another big wedding, but Edward's out of action. Dick visits Tim and Rebecca as they run into problems. Karen does all she can to bag her and Paul's first wedding.||1 March 2019|
|11||Chateau maintenance tasks include looking after an elevated pool and a maze, and preparing for the fast approaching wedding season.||4 March 2019|
|12||Dick helps Paul cut some Vitrolite vintage tiles for an art deco bathroom, Abbie gets on with painting bedroom furniture, and Julia and her sisters visit two more chateaux.||5 March 2019|
|13||Couple Mariam and Johnno arrive at their new chateau with teenage son Monty, to discover that they have no running water and builders are busy in every room.||6 March 2019|
|14||Emma and Paul urgently need to fill their lake ready for the artists' retreat they're hosting. Abbie and Karen get tips from Angel on how to save money for their wedding business.||7 March 2019|
|15||Emma and Paul invite locals - including the mayor - to view the work they've done on the front of their chateau. But first Paul has to design, build and fit two heavy balconies.||8 March 2019|
|16||More adventurous chateau owners live their castle dreams. Dick steps in to help new chateau owners couple Erin and JB. Tim and Margareeth embark on their next money-making venture.||11 March 2019|
|17||Dick fixes up his temperamental van at his chateau. Erin and JB start work on their honeymoon suite and solarium/sun room. Alison and Paul make an exciting discovery.||12 March 2019|
|18||Erin and JB host a 90th birthday party. May and her family start work turning a rundown outbuilding into a yoga retreat. For Tim and Margareeth, It's the day of the wedding party.||13 March 2019|
|19||Dick steps in to help Erin and JB find a solution to their rusted hinges. Wedding season is over for Tim and Margareeth. May and her son Jack get the Yoga Room ready.||14 March 2019|
|20||Erin and JB are launching their chateau business by opening it up for a tea party. We meet Charles, owner of Chateau Saint Loup, inspiration for the story of Puss in Boots.||15 March 2019|
|21||British artist Johnny and his girlfriend Ashley plan to host artist workshops. Musicians Ben and Billie want to put on foodie events. Nicole and Stefan return with a new venture.||18 March 2019|
|22||Nicole and Stefan start work on the ancient gatehouse. Billie visits Angel to pick up some ideas for natural designs. Johnny and Ashley talk to Dick about work on their library.||19 March 2019|
|23||Dick helps restore Ben's traditional wine press. Johnny and Ashley finish the library ceiling with a nude painting of Ashley. Stefan has a last-minute dash to finish an apartment.||20 March 2019|
|24||It's National Monuments Day at Nicole and Stefan's castle and the gatehouse refurbishment is put on hold. Wendy and Marcus launch their wedding business with a raucous hen party.||21 March 2019|
|25||Nicole and Stefan continue their renovation of their historic chateau in Lucheux. Ben and Billie host their foodie evening with a pop-up restaurant in their orangery.||22 March 2019|
|26||Stephanie creates an apartment for her mother in her fairy-tale 16th century chateau. Jayne and Steve need to get four en suite themed bedrooms ready for their new B&B business.||25 March 2019|
|27||Dick visits Stephanie to get the pizza oven working. Annabelle and Justin return from holiday to find their chateau infested with bees. Jayne and Steve finish the Nature Room.||26 March 2019|
|28||Angel shows Stephanie the best way to frame her father's original artwork. Justin and Annabelle put up their shutters. Jayne and Steve complete the Little French room.||27 March 2019|
|29||Dick visits Stephanie to check out the new boiler for her mum's apartment - but it's bad news and mum Isobel is not happy. Jayne and Steve battle with a giant four poster bed.||28 March 2019|
|30||Stephanie finishes her mum's apartment. Jayne and Steve finish the Oriental Room and are ready for guests. We meet Tim, Sasha and Lily who run their chateau as a wedding venue.||29 March 2019|
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