Country House Rescue Review: Finances In Estate

March 4, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

COUNTRY HOUSE RESCUE: Thursday 4th March, Channel 4, 8pm ALERT ME

Sixty eight-year-old Cornelia Bailey, owner of Plas Teg, the most important Jacobean house in Wales, has spent over twenty years single-handedly restoring it. And it shows.

Judging by the size of it, you wonder how she handled the hoovering. Luckily, businesswoman Ruth Watson is here to help Cornelia save this unique national treasure for the future. About bloody time, too.

Nonetheless, it takes an eccentric character to make good TV these days. Cornelia only opens the house to the public for three hours a week on Sundays and the odd ghost hunt. ‘I don’t like like people very much’, she confesses.

Which would be fine, if she were living in a one bedroom flat in Peckham. But with things as they are, Plas Teg is making a huge loss. Enter Ruth, to advise her how to save for the future. Starting with getting out of the house, presumably.

The place itself and its history is pretty impressive, the fact it was restored by one woman alone is all the more remarkable. For all her talents, it’s clear Cornelia can’t handle much responsibility. An ex pays for the heating, and she doesn’t really know how much the house makes. Moreover, she spends most of what she earns on her two parrots. Ruth is as confused as we are.

“Do you consider yourself to be eccentric?”, she asks Cornelia. With all this obvious madness, it’s a while before she gets to the job at hand.

She soon gets stuck in, finding ways to increase income by attracting more visitors. Using the house as a film set, selling Cornelia’s vintage clothes and reducing the amount of walnuts consumed by the parrots are just a few of Ruth’s ideas.

Three months on and there’s fashion shoots aplenty but the house is still a bit of a tip. Cornelia admits her eyesight wasn’t what it used to be and so Ruth gets to work attracting volunteers via a ‘Friends of Plas Teg’ scheme.

But Cornelia admits she doesn’t like meeting people who ‘she doesn’t know’. After much coaxing from Ruth an event is put on with potential investors attending. Cornelia even talks to some people she doesn’t know.

This is all well and good but we’re not fully told how things pan out. Does Plas Tag end up attracting more visitors? Does Cornelia escape across the moors with her parrots? We don’t know.

In any case, it would have made the programme a tad less boring. Or maybe that’s just me. Shrug…