Country House Rescue

LIVING – Saturday from 2 June, 8.30pm

Top businesswoman Ruth Watson is back for a third season offering straight-talking advice to help historically important houses become viable concerns, not crumbling historic wrecks. Will the owners listen to Ruth and follow her advice, or face losing their family home? From a unique collection of antiques to an unspoilt deer park, each has something valuable to exploit but the owners are in dire need of Ruth’s no-nonsense know-how. With her advice, they learn to turn their money pits into profitable businesses. Filmed throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the series is filled with fabulous architecture, beautiful gardens and unconventional characters rarely seen on television.

8:30pm Friday, April 27 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Ruth Watson is back for more Country House Rescue, taking on some of Britain’s biggest country houses and most historic families. Britain’s historic buildings are central to their sense of identity, but they are in crisis. The recession has left stately home owners facing a predicament not seen since the mass demolitions of the 1960’s. Can Ruth find new ways of keeping these cash hungry buildings running, relevant and standing? Tonight Ruth visits Pen-y-Lan, a 17-century mansion in Wales. Pen-y-Lan was built in 1690 by the founder of Lloyds Bank and was bought by the Holloway family in 1849. The house has been passed down through the generations. Emma Holloway grew up in the house and has, in turn, brought up her four children there. To Emma, Pen-y-Lan is her life. But the house is also a noose around her neck, with �300,000 of debt.

8:30pm Friday, March 16 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Ruth Watson revisits Abbey Dore Court to see how Charis Ward and her granddaughter Clare’s catering holiday business is faring. Charis Ward bought Abbey Dore Court in 1967 for $12,000. In 2000, Charis decided to leave Abbey Dore to live in a more manageable property and the house fell into disrepair. Charis’ 26-year-old granddaughter Clare is determined to bring her formerly happy home back to life.

7:30pm Friday, March 9 on Prime


This is Pen Y Lan Hall, a 17th Century mansion in North Wales. Owner Emma Holloway is $300,000 in debt and is in danger of loosing her family home. The house desperately needs a new roof, which will cost $200,000. If Emma doesn’t find a way to make some money soon she might have to sell up and move out. Can businesswoman Ruth Watson save Pen Y Lan?

7:30pm Friday, February 24 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Ruth Watson has more than just a crumbling home to contend with this week as her country house mission turns to playing peace maker. Hill Place in Swanmore, Hampshire, is a Grade II listed Georgian villa, built in 1791. Home to Will and Rebecca Dobson since inheriting it from Will’s grandmother, the couple have given up their home and their jobs to put their all into making the house a success. With a long list of expensive and urgent repairs needed, as well as additional yearly running costs of �50,000, the pair have no choice but to make Hill Place work as a commercial business.

While Will is working on the family’s apple orchard, Rebecca, appointed ‘chief arse kicker’, is overseeing the renovations to the beautiful but neglected house. But in the background are four disapproving sisters. Will’s mother and her siblings all condemn the modernising changes planned for what was once their parents’ home. Can Ruth make them reconcile and get the rest of the family to see just how hard Will and Rebecca have worked to keep Hill Place up and running?

7:30pm Friday, February 17 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

This week’s episode sees Ruth tackling Garston Manor, a grade two listed Georgian House on the outskirts of Watford. Built in 1812, headmistress Sheila O’Neill bought the house as a wreck for $500,000 from the local council. Against the advice of friends and family Sheila had dreams to turn the decrepit building into a school. Thirteen years later and her Montessori school is just about breaking even, but the O’Neill family is desperate for a secondary business to pay their massive shortfalls on the house. Sheila and her children, four daughters in their 30s and 40s, all live in self-contained flats on the upper floors of the house with three of them even teaching in the school. But attempts at diversifying the manor into a wedding and conference venue have failed and so the ladies of the manor call on Ruth for help.

7:30pm Friday, February 10 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

This week sees Ruth Watson attempting to help one of the most historically important houses yet. Kentchurch Court in Herefordshire has been home to the Scudamores for over 1,000 years, handed down through the family since 1058. Now lived in by Jan Lucas-Scudamore, Kentchurch is not the life of luxury Jan thought it’d be when she first married into the family. With running costs totalling $120,000 a year, maintaining the house is becoming increasingly difficult. Ruth is immediately impressed by Jan’s tight ship and by the beautiful and historic house and gardens and believes the solution to the financial shortfall is to open up the house and grounds. But Jan is less keen on opening the house, her family home, to the public. Can Ruth persuade her that this is the only way?

7:30pm Friday, February 3 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Tonight, Ruth Watson visits determined Tim Le Grice and his family, owners of Trereife House in Penzance, Cornwall. After inheriting the crumbling manor and its huge debts in 1986 Tim has spent the past 25 years trying to turn around the fortunes of his family home. But Trereife is a house in peril, falling down at the seams. And while holding down a full time job as a solicitor Tim has been working 15 hours a day trying new business ventures to give them a much needed cash injection. The house is making a loss, it’s falling apart and the bank is close to forcing a sale. Ruth steps in and soon discovers that part of Trereife’s travails lie with Tim’s misguided business ideas.

7:30pm Friday, January 27 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Tonight we visit Monreith House, an imposing Georgian Mansion built in 1799 near Port William in South West Scotland. Sir Michael Maxwell inherited the house in the early 1980s in a terrible state of disrepair. This grand house is crying out for repairs and maintenance while Sir Michael is struggling to keep expenditure down. But these thrifty methods aren’t working and over 700 years of Maxwell heritage could have reached the end of the line. Can businesswoman Ruth Watson help Sir Michael save Monreith House with her commercial acumen and forthright approach?

7:30pm Friday, January 20 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Tonight, Ruth visits Tapeley Park, a sprawling stately home on the North Devon coast and set of the notorious eco-activist Hector Christie. As eldest son and heir to the well-known Christie family, Hector was due to inherit Glyndebourne Opera House. Instead, ‘over a bottle of amyl nitrate’ in a Brighton nightclub, Hector flipped a coin with his younger brother to decide on Glyndebourne’s fate. Hector won but wasn’t interested in opera so decided to take on the lesser known Tapely Park and ended up with an equally grand abode which has been in the family for 300 odd years. Until recently, Hector was running Tapeley as a quasi-commune but he has decided it’s time to regain some control – so he kicked out the hippies and called on Ruth Watson’s help to turn the crumbling mansion’s destiny around.