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Joanna Lumley pays a visit

Joanna Lumley came to stay at The 25 Boutique B&B back in October 2020 whilst filming her latest travel show “Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home – Travels in my Own Land”.

It was an honour to have her stay with us and I thought you’d be interested in hearing more about it.

She usually tours far flung exotic places, but in 2020 foreign travel was very restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so she decided to explore her own adopted country instead.

As England is synonymous with the bed and breakfast, she decided to stay in one as part of her travels. And if you’re going to stay in a British B&B, why would you not stay in one that’s not only England’s very best (Visit England Award for Best B&B in England 2020) but also the world (TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award for Best B&B in the world 2019 and 2020)?

Some of you may be wondering about Coronavirus safety. There is a specific code of conduct for filming during the pandemic which had to be followed and included all the crew including Joanna being tested every other day, and masks to be worn by the crew and also us whenever off camera. Whilst on camera and in photos, we were mainly safely apart and had to use clever shots to make it look like we were closer.

It was a bit of a cloudy day when Joanna arrived and had been raining. Luckily it had stopped in time for the crew to set up and get ready for her entrance. It had already been pre-arranged that we would introduce our Miniature Schnauzer called Patsy to Joanna who famously played “Patsy” in Absolutely Fabulous. She had not been briefed and it was to be a surprise, so a camera was needed on us, and on Joanna for her reaction to meeting the dog.

Following this, Joanna freshened up and got changed so we could show her to her room on camera. She loved the Shoalstone Suite and I showed her around the features of the lounge and Julian did the bedroom and bathroom.

In the lounge Joanna spotted that day’s home made treat which were Viennese Whirls and she can be seen in the show enjoying eating one.

The bedroom contains an upcycled mannequin lamp which I spray painted and Julian made into a lamp. She can be seen discussing this with Julian, along with the bathroom TV in the ensuite.

Having not eaten all day, the crew soon headed off with Joanna to have something to eat and dropped Joanna off later to sleep. The next morning, the weather was much better, so the crew spent some time taking some shots in the harbour area and across the sea before coming over to The 25.

By the time the crew arrived and were ready, breakfast for our other guests was over and Joanna was on her second coffee (one sweetener). The crew spent a long time with Julian in the kitchen setting up shots and following each stage of cooking Joanna’s breakfast. They then moved into the dining room. Most of this time, I’d had to be cleaning bedrooms as we were busy with other guest changeovers and needed rooms ready for that afternoon.

When they were ready, I filmed with Joanna, asking her what she’s like to drink and providing toast and serving her breakfast. She is a vegetarian, so she chose a brand new breakfast dish we’d recently added – the very aptly named “Absolutely Fabulous Mushrooms” which is two warm croissants with herby mushrooms and melted goat’s cheese.

Unfortunately there wasn’t time to include the breakfast in the final version – just a quick shot of Julian making it. It’s a shame as she was very complimentary. Since filming we’ve completely redecorated the breakfast room in a more boutique look so it’s completely different now.

After breakfast, Joanna spent some time chatting to us about our various award wins in front of our “awards wall”, some of which was shown on TV. She did pick up a few awards during our chat and of course I had to straighten them up again in between shots for continuity – I’m a stickler for detail!

Joanna was on her way to film in Somerset next so left early afternoon. She wrote in the visitors’ book, left us a lovely thank you note and a present and wrote us another thank you note when she returned to London and was happy to pose for photos.

It was a special couple of days and we will have fond memories which are eternally immortalised in the form of the show.

If you want to watch the whole show you can view it on ITV hub.


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