Hotel On Sea, BBC1

by | Sep 8, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A jolly little docusitcom full of camp characters and minor tragedies. We kept expecting to see Peter Kay pop up somewhere but, in truth, he didn’t need to. This was packed with plenty of funny characters.

What to say if you disliked it

A terribly contrived attempt to shed light upon real life at a Blackpool hotel

What was good about it?

• After the here-comes-the-big-bad-wolf build-up, owner Mrs Walsh (accompanied by Pekingese dog Biggles) was nowhere near fearsome enough. But she was a wonderfully ludicrous character in her frilly blouse. When filmed driving to The President Hotel, she came across like League Of Gentlemen cabbie Barbara, slipping from posh (“purchased”) to common (“otels”). But at the hotel she was more Beverley from Abigail’s Party, delivering her catchphrases – “As simple as” and “Can you make a note of that, Steph” – and adding “Yeah?” to the end of every sentence during a David Brentish motivational meeting with the staff.

• “I don’t want back chat. No excuses,” a rebuke, delivered with a chilling smile by Mrs Walsh when duty manager Steph was told to remove the tacky rings on his fingers and change his hideous check shirt.

• Laughing at the stupid names given to The President’s facilities – The Lincoln Bar, The George Washington Dining Room, Kennedy’s Night Club – which may have impressed visiting Americans (but there were none) but meant nowt to the hordes of northern pensioners the hotel attracts.

• Laughing at the night club’s slogan “New York pizzaz is brought exclusively to Blackpool’s North Shore.”

• The game old pensioner guests who were thrilled about bingo and got so excited that we feared for their lives when they discovered the lift’s light didn’t work

• The cast list reeled out over the closing titles: Mrs Walsh as the glamorous businesswoman, Alan as the unflappable general manager, Steph as the long-suffering duty manager, Sandra as the irrepressible head receptionist, Zoe as the jolly housekeeper.

What was bad about it?

• The opening titles, a clumsy animated affair that tried to signal this was going to be a comedy of errors but had the feel of a pre-school kids’ show.

• The “will Mrs Walsh spot the hole in the ceiling of room 199?” drama. Narrator Martin Jarvis tried to crank up the tension, but it didn’t really have the thrilling outcome we’d hoped for (Mrs Walsh pulls out a whip and gives duty manager Steph a thorough whipping)

• “There’s more to bingo calling than meets the eye,” Jarvis narrated, just after Steph had, in fact, been told how easy it is now because terms such as “two fat ladies” are now banned in bingo circles (political correctness gone mad)

• The this’ll-surprise-you moment when it was revealed duty manager Steph also drags up as Miss Stephanie Sparkles. We had seen that coming several miles off.

• The deeply regrettable grammatical error in the motivational sign: “Your At Work – Smile”

• The minute spent watching Andy (The President’s marketing manager) attempt a Windsor knot.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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