On the verge of fame...meet James and Charles Ryder (left to right), general and assistant manager to The Cavendish Hotel, and grandchildren to the owners, Joyce and Ernie Blagden, who have owned the Torquay establishment for 22 years.
After recognising that The Hotel had reached struggling times, this summer, the family decided to bring in the help of, Mark Jenkins, star of all three previous series of Channel 4's, The Hotel. Hiring him for just 5 weeks during high season as entertainments manager, and in the desperate hope of turning things around, I was told by Charles, assistant manager of the hotel (top right) that, 'it really is make or break for the hotel, which is why we've brought in Mark. This may be our last chance, we're hoping he'll turn things around'.
With an added interest in the hotel, as my own grandparents had been previous owners back in the 1970's (back then also a 3 star hotel), I was excited to take a trip down to The Cavendish, and have a nose at what was going on. Excitingly, the day on which I'd chosen to pop by with my camera, happened to be the hotel's first official day of filming. After a quick shoot with the Ryder brothers, I scouted around for Mark, and managed to catch him outside the hotel, armed with a handful of leaflets and wearing a giant sandwich board advertising FREE ADMISSION to Jackpot Bingo that night, with up to £300 cash to win, (money to be made up by the players of course, otherwise to come out of his own pocket)!
Scuttling past rival hotel, 'The Grosvenor', (featured in all previous series of, 'The Hotel'), just across the road and down a bit, Mark and James, dressed in their sandwich boards and Mark in a suit, despite the sticky weather, continued down to the seafront in the hope of finding fresh meat, to tout for further business.
I watched on as they scurried around Torre Abbey sands, known as Torquay's seafront, searching for punters in order to make the evenings Bingo night a success!
To find out if Mark's Bingo night was a success, tune in to the show tomorrow at 8pm on channel 4, 28th December.
If you are a fan of Mark Jenkins, or think you may be of the show and are interested in memorabilia and historic photo's of the Cavendish, please see below. These were originally taken in the 1970's, when my grandparents were the owners. The hotel has changed quite a bit, although my mother tells me some of the décor looks exactly the same!