Casting is currently underway for the series, which will air on Channel 4 later this year. The producers, RDF Television West, are still looking for businesses to take part, especially those from the South East area.
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.”
The show follows a similar ‘Cutting Edge’ documentary in 2011 and a subsequent intense period of publicity surrounding review websites. Acting as adjudicator, Watson will get the business owner and reviewers together to discuss the problems and find out whether the reviews were justified. She will return after a few weeks to see if the business has improved and resolved its issues.
Commisioning editor David Sayer added: “Ruth, with her expertise and no-nonsense style, is the perfect person to decide who’s right and who’s wrong in the battle between businesses and their 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.
Hygiene stars back
Meanwhile, Watson has just regained a top food hygiene rating at her hotel after losing it in an inspection last year.
The Crown & Castle has regained its five-star rating for food hygiene standards after a poor rating was given by Suffolk Coastal District Council in what the hotel said was the result of ‘lost paperwork’.
"An unannounced revisit was made on 6 March when the (hotel) demonstrated they were able to comply in so far as they had made structural improvements and appeared to have satisfactory understanding of the significant hazards associated with the food handling activities," said a council spokesperson.
Watson had initially threatened a judicial review of Suffolk Coastal District Council's rating decision after the initial inspection in November.