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Hotels sought for new Channel 4 documentary series

By Lorraine Heller , 07-Mar-2011

Channel 4 is preparing to launch a new television series that will reveal the life inside some of the UK’s hotels through an observational documentary approach.

The first eight-hour series, filmed by Dragonfly Film & Television, follows the life of staff and guests in a 40-bedroom hotel in the Lake District, and is due to be aired “later this year”.

Dragonfly, which is the production company behind the documentary series ‘One Born Every Minute’ and ‘The Family’, is now on the hunt for a hotel to feature in the second series of the new documentary, which has been given a working title of ‘The Hotel’.

Observing hotel workings

Filming for each series takes place over a whole month, during which time discrete, multiple fixed cameras capture the goings on in the hotel. All filming is conducted with the permission of hotel guests, and is said to be unobtrusive.

The idea is to capture individual stories unravelling within the hotel, involving both the staff and selected guests. For example, one story in the completed series follows a new member of staff and his performance as he learns the ropes. Another story follows a guest as he prepares to propose to his girlfriend.

Dragonfly said the series aim to give “a heart-warming insight into the workings of a 21st century British hotel”.

“The beauty of the way these kinds of shows are shot is that there’s no TV trickery involved – it’s literally observational,” said assistant producer Sharon Tucker.

“We’re not trying to catch a hotel out, and we’re not telling them how to do things better. If the hotel we’re filming is proud of their operations then that’s what we’ll be showing,” she told BigHospitality.

“There are bound to be hiccups behind the scenes, but that’s natural and it humanises the industry.”

Search for the next hotel

Drangonfly are now looking for new hotel to be the feature of a second series.

Although they have no strict criteria, they would ideally like to find a “large, vibrant hotel”, with over 40 rooms, plenty of activity and “warm, colourful staff”.

The hotel owner involved in the first series said they were initially concerned that the filming would frighten guests, upset staff and ridicule the hotel.

“The reality was that very few guests were put off by the cameras; the crew were unobtrusive and great fun to deal with; they left the hotel exactly as they found it; the staff, after initial apprehensiveness, loved the experience; and the hotel is, on the whole, shown in a good light.”

The production group have scheduled filming of the next series for a month during the summer this year, and hope to find the hotel they will feature within the next one to two months.

To find out more or to apply for your hotel to feature in the series, contact the producers on thehotel@dragonfly.tv or 0207 033 2261.

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