Following a similar ‘Cutting Edge’ documentaryin 2011 and a subsequent intense period of publicitysurrounding review websites, Watson – who runs the Crown and Castle hotel in Suffolk – told BigHospitality that this new, as-yet-unnamed programme will look at both sides of the story.
“We all know the power of these review websites and social media,” she said. “But are people always being reasonable when they ‘review’ these places?
“I will go to establishments that feel they have been unfairly treated, I’ll then meet with the reviewer and I’ll challenge their opinions. For example, if a person says the food was absolutely rubbish then I’ll take them to another restaurant and find out what they really know about food.
“So I’ll get both sides of the story and at the end of it we’ll reach a decision about who’s actually in the right - this is not a TripAdvisor-bashing exercise, quite the opposite.”
Filming for the 20-part series will commence in April with the transmission date set for autumn. The show’s producers, RDF Television, are particularly looking for businesses ‘that have a story to tell’, ideally situated in the Bath/Bristol, London, and Birmingham areas.
Speaking of her decision to get on-board with this latest TV project, Watson explained the issue is one that ‘needs to be tackled’, having experienced negative reviews at her own establishment, which she owns with husband David and Tim Sunderland.
“The Crown and Castle had a review left last week which was about a stay that took place a year ago. In that space of time, quite a lot of things can change – so I just don’t think that’s reasonable.
“I think all reviews should also be transparent; a reviewer shouldn’t be able to hide behind any aliases, they should have to state who they are.
“The British do not like paying very much for anything and what they expect for their money is sometimes outrageously greedy. People have lost the ability to differentiate between an objective criticism of something which is not fulfilling what it sets out to do and just saying ‘I don’t like what they do’.
“The hardest part has, of course, been in tracking down the reviewers."
The original title for the programme was ‘Ruth Watson’s Judgement Day’, but it was vetoed by Watson as it was, in her words, too heavy.
Any businesses wishing to take part in Ruth Watson’s new TV show should email firstname.lastname@example.org.