Tapeley Park on Country House Rescue

ECO-ACTIVIST Hector Christie is pitted against formidable television presenter Ruth Watson when Instow’s Tapeley Park appears on Channel 4’s Country House Rescue this month.

The second episode of the new series airs on Sunday, March 13 and will see an intriguing battle of wills as the charming but eccentric Hector meets tough talking and practical Ruth, an experienced hotelier and restaurateur well known for her TV roles including Hotel Rescue and The Hotel Inspector.

It is the third series of the show, which seeks to restore Britain’s historic country houses and stately homes to their former glory.

As television viewers visit the crumbling Tapeley Park, it seems Ruth’s help might be more urgent than she first thought, with the collapse of the dining room ceiling just days before the film crew arrive.

Hector is well known for a variety of activities as a protester and once gained entry to a Labour conference to heckle Tony Blair. The challenge for Country House Rescue presenter Ruth is to channel some of this energy into helping Tapeley.

“Hector’s loyal staff believe his pre-occupation with protesting against supermarket and GM crops means he’s not fully focused on Tapeley’s core business,” said a spokesman for the show.

“This is borne out when Hector is arrested in Germany dressed as a genetically-modified potato.

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“Ruth quickly realises some of Hector’s idiosyncrasies could also be his greatest strengths. As well as the beautiful formal Italianate gardens which attract the staple older visitors, Hector and his alternative friends have created one of the country’s finest permaculture gardens, which could appeal to a younger audience if properly marketed.”

It seems Tapeley’s incredibly well preserved William Morris furniture could also prove a draw for visitors…

As eldest son and heir to the Christie family, Hector was due to inherit London’s Glyndebourne Opera House.

Instead, while in a Brighton nightclub, Hector flipped a coin with his younger brother to decide on Glyndebourne’s fate - Hector won but was not interested in opera so decided to take on the lesser known Tapeley Park and ended up with an equally grand abode which has been in the family for 300 years.

The new series of Country House Rescue starts this Sunday on Channel 4 at 9pm. See Tapeley Park and Hector Christie in the second episode on Sunday, March 13.

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