Country House Rescue is back and this time entrepreneur Simon Davis is at the helm. The series follows the fortunes of six stately British homes, as Simon advises the home-owners how to diversify and raise revenue, and in doing so, secure the future of these unique properties for generations to come.
EPISODE 1 – Colebrooke Park
Colebrooke Park, a neo-classical mansion built in 1820, in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland has been home to Viscount and Viscountess Brookeborough for over thirty years. Having rescued the property from near ruin, Alan and Janet have devoted their lives to maintaining the house, and have raised the funds they need by hosting exclusive shooting parties for a very select market. But these consume all their time and energies and, with no children of their own, they need to start planning for the future. They have called on entrepreneur Simon Davis for his advice on creating a more sustainable business that will secure the estate’s future. Simon believes that their salvation lies in exploiting the house and grounds to create a health and wellbeing business centred on a spa in the former stables. But Alan and Janet have a strong emotional attachment to the house and seem reluctant to open it to others. In the course of his three visits Simon must battle to overcome this prejudice, and convince Alan to delegate and be less controlling. Can Simon fight to allow the public greater access to this hidden part of our heritage?
EPISODE 2 – Chapel Cleeve
Hidden in the hills of West Somerset is Chapel Cleeve – a grade 2 listed manor house dating back to the 1400s, with a fascinating history. Throughout the centuries the house has passed through many families as well as serving as a refuge for pilgrims and more recently, as a hotel.
But it was near derelict when in 1998 Jeannie Wilkins and her partner bought it at auction for £360,000. They enlisted the help of a group of friends who renovated the Edwardian west wing and grand staircase.
But after 33 years together, her partner left her, and now 63 year old Jeannie lives on her own in this 15 bedroom house and survives on £100 per week. On the verge of bankruptcy, Jeannie has been forced to put her beloved home up for sale, but desperate to safeguard this important part of Britain’s heritage she’s called on the expertise of businessman Simon Davis. Can he find the radical solutions that will help Jeannie continue to live in her beloved home and will she be willing to share the house with others, if it is the only way to ensure its survival?
EPISODE 3 – Great Fulford
Great Fulford is a grade I listed manor house near Exeter in Devon. Set in three thousand acres, its home to a couple accustomed to the media spotlight – Francis and Kishanda Fulford. But after a near millennium of clinging on to their house and estate, the future of Great Fulford is hanging in the balance. Parts of the house haven’t been touched for decades and others are starting to crumble. With the income from the estate and tenanted farms going towards paying off their borrowings, the house must start to pay its own way, so the Fulfords have had to call in an outsider to help save their home, and a vital part of our heritage. Simon Davis believes that the huge formal rooms and recently renovated bedrooms mean that the couple are sitting on a goldmine. But will they listen to Simon’s advice and exploit the house’s money making potential or will the couple’s forceful personalities leave them all at loggerheads?
EPISODE 4 – Craufurdland
Craufurdland, a castle dating back over 8 centuries, is hidden away in 600 acres in Ayrshire, South West Scotland. It’s been home to the Craufurd family since 1245 but constant maintenance of the fragile property has become a huge financial drain. Having been rented out for the last few years, Simon Craufurd and his wife Adity have just moved in, hoping to reclaim the family home for them and their children. But with only enough bank borrowings and savings to sustain them for six months, they must make it earn its keep so have called on the expertise of businessman Simon Davis to help show them the way. Simon is concerned that the couple intend to use half of the property for self-catering accommodation, despite having no experience of the hospitality world. He must also discover a way of sharing the castle’s fascinating and important history with a public who have no idea that it exists. Can Simon convince the Craufurds to support his business plan that should put the castle on the map and generate the much needed funds that will preserve this unknown family home?
EPISODE 6 – Bantry House
Bantry House on the West Coast of County Cork in Ireland, has been in the Shelswell-White family for over 300 years and has played an important part in Anglo-Irish history. The current residents, Egerton and Brigitte Shelswell-White came to live here over 30 years ago. But turning the semi-derelict Bantry into a family home and a viable business has been their life’s work and the time has come for them to pass on the reins. So their eldest daughter Sophie, and her partner Josh, have given up their life in Australia to come back and take over the running of the whole estate. The house currently brings in a seasonal income from bed and breakfast, a tea room and house tours, but it’s not enough to meet the huge running costs and pay off debts of nearly a million Euros. If they can’t turn the business around they will be forced to sell, so they’ve asked entrepreneur Simon Davis to come up with a new business plan to save their beloved Bantry. With emotions running high and very little money to spend on new ideas, Simon must call on all his powers of negotiation to come up with the money making solution that will preserve this magnificent stately home.
EPISODE 7 – Meldon Park
Meldon Park, five miles from Morpeth in Northumberland, has been a home to the Cookson’s since 1832. Successive generations have seen the family’s fortunes wax and wane and with it the size of the estate. Income is no longer keeping up with the escalating running costs of £70,000 a year, parts of the house are starting to crumble and time is running out. It’s fallen to the 7th generation of the family, James Cookson and his wife Emily to try and turn it around. If they don’t find a solution soon, James will have to consider moving the family out of the main house. They’ve asked businessman Simon Davis to come to Meldon Park to see if he can find the money making solutions which will secure this estate’s survival. But the walled kitchen garden that has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in it in recent years, is sitting empty after two failed attempts to run a café there. With his background in restaurant consultancy, Simon can see the obvious potential, but must convince James and Emily that, only by taking on the running of it themselves, can they hope to make it a success.