Escape from the Chateau

Insight has been indulging in a little schadenfreude this week, along with the red tops, Daily Mail and, significantly, the broadsheets. 

That a TV darling turns out, off-camera, to be a monstrous bully, pervert, drug addict or all three is nothing new. Think Clarkson, John Leslie, Frank Bough, Rolf Harris. It’s a long list.

But, news this week that Good Morning Britain’s Phil and Holly’s relationship is at breaking point is almost as satisfying as Channel 4’s announcement that they’re terminating the contract with Escape to the Chateau pair, Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree. 

The Phil and Holly bust up is absolute catnip for the media. With barely concealed glee, the media reports that their erstwhile close friendship has suffered from a series of unfortunate incidents. Phil’s unscheduled coming out is said to have started the rot. Then, he was temporarily removed from the airwaves during his brother’s trial for sexual abuse. Now, there are dark rumours of young producers mysteriously being removed from the show for falling out with him. 

Of course the whole thing could be an elaborate ruse to boost GMB ratings. But, the fabulously bankable Holly is said to be worried about her own, squeaky-clean face-of-M&S brand being tarnished by association with that of the increasingly toxic visage of We Buy Any Car.

Schofield’s agents may well be pondering the uncomfortable prospect of what Elon Musk might call a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation. 

Less prominent has been the unmasking of Chateau restorers, Angel and Dick, as “nightmare bullies”. Or, as one commentator suggested, one has lived up to their name and one has not. 

Channel 4 has pulled the plug on ETTC – possibly because after nine seasons, they’ve finally finished rebuilding the blasted thing. This, however, is unlikely as Angel, ever dressed as Widow-Twanky-meets-Land-Girl, simply cannot stop tinkering, upcycling and feverishly creating her artistic installations. 

That aside, her maniacal giggling after every utterance made me suspicious that all was not rosy in their jardin. And, it seems Angel and Dick’s smiley bonhomie did not extend towards the film crew and a number of producers refused to work with them. 

Camera crews can be intrusive and annoying, but it’s the price you pay for building your (lucrative) brand and your (expensive) chateau.

Schofield, Dick and Angel will no doubt be reflecting on the importance of having some genuine brand values – and the cost of not actually living them. 

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