Hotel Babylon

8:30pm Tuesday, December 8 on TV One

Step inside television’s glamorous hotel for more seductive insights into the lives – and loves – of those for whom five star luxury is nothing but essential. The reception personnel of the slick and seductive Hotel Babylon are once again waiting to greet guests and viewers, and some new faces are checking in to stir things up (tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE).

Former EastEnders heartthrob Nigel Harman and Anna Wilson-Jones (Afterlife and Monarch Of The Glen) join the regular cast of Dexter Fletcher, Emma Pierson, Michael Obiora, Martin Marquez, Ray Coulthard, Danira Govic and Alexandra Moen. Harman plays the hotel’s new owner, Sam Franklin, while Wilson-Jones plays his ex-wife and Babylon’s General Manager, Juliet.

Harman says his first day on the set of Hotel Babylon was a reunion of sorts between him, Dexter Fletcher and Ray Coulthard. “Dexter and I did a show together at the Lyric Hammersmith, and he will kill me for saying this, but I was 10 and he was a much older, 17 or so. We were three school kids in detention – me, Dexter and Jenna Russell, who is Ray Coulthard’s partner,” he reminisces. “And Jenna and I later worked together in Guys And Dolls in the West End, which is when I met Ray.”

For Harman, his first day was somewhat daunting, not least because he was joining an established cast and a popular prime time show, but also because he had great swathes of dialogue to deliver. “I was really nervous on my first day because the show is really established now, but the cast and crew were fantastically warm and welcoming, and what you see on screen is how it is on set.”

He says, “There are two kinds of Hotel Babylon lovers: the out-and-out fans who unashamedly love it, and the closet fans for whom the show is a guilty pleasure. I got a really warm reaction coming into it from my friends and family. When a show is as established as this is, with a strong fan-base, then make no mistake, the pressure is on.”

Despite not having worked with Anna Wilson-Jones before, they immediately established a rapport from their first reading together. “You can’t force chemistry, and you can see what on paper should be great husband and wife teams, but if the camera doesn’t pick it up, then it is over. Hopefully, Juliet and Sam have that chemistry. It’s not front and centre with those two; it very much bubbles under the surface, and by the end of the series, hopefully it becomes more prevalent. However, you can’t go and have chemistry workshops, but Anna is a brilliant actor and the chemistry feels very natural for us.”

Episode one of the new season sees Harman’s character, the charismatic businessman Sam, set pulses racing when he checks in at Hotel Babylon, little knowing that his ex-wife, Juliet, has been appointed as Babylon’s bailiff, tasked with preparing the floundering hotel for sale.

He explains how Sam is stranded at the Airport in the middle of a terror alert, and offers to get the people from his grounded flight a hotel room for the night – Babylon is about the fourth hotel he tries – but there are no rooms available. “He then tries to schmooze the manager, but discovers the person in charge is in fact his ex-wife. So that’s how events transpire and over the course of the episode various things happen, and he falls in love with the hotel and staff, and begins to question his position with Juliet.”

As the day unfolds, some disturbing events threaten the hotel’s equilibrium, and Sam decides to take matters into his own hands. Juliet’s ex-husband is no longer the penniless failure she was once married to; it only takes a few phone calls and Hotel Babylon has a new owner. But can the pair put their differences behind them and work together for the good of the business?

UKTV – Thursdays from 16 October, 9.30pm

Check in for more indulgence, decadence and debauchery as Tamzin Outhwaite and Max Beesley return for the second series of Hotel Babylon. With guests such as Jerry Hall as glittering as the Hotel’s chandeliers, General Manager Rebecca is determined to run a tight ship. But work has taken its toll on her private life and this series finds her in the middle of a divorce and at times losing sight of her friends. When faced with romance at work, will Rebecca practise what she preaches to her staff? Meanwhile, Charlie finds his patience tested on many occasions and, when faced with a family dilemma, he sails too close to the wind and risks landing himself back in jail. And Head Concierge Tony gains a new trainee Luke – with his good looks, confidence and naughty streak, he promises to turn heads both back and front of house. Inspired by Imogen Edwards-Jones’ searing expose of life behind the scenes of the luxury hotel industry in London, Hotel Babylon takes us on a journey beyond the glamour and facade of the smiling faces and glittering chandeliers and into the frenetic, non-stop world of the staff.
Stars: Max Beesley (Bodies and Talk To Me), Tamzin Outhwaite (Red Cap and EastEnders), Dexter Fletcher (Band of Brothers and Topsy Turvy), Emma Pierson (Charles II and Talk to Me).

Wednesday 27 August, 8.30pm

Indulge yourself with Hotel Babylon, a place where everything is possible – for the right price. From a Grand Prix victory celebration to the perfect venue from which to launch a new fashion range, the staff at Hotel Babylon work tirelessly to meet the demands of the glamorous, image-obsessed customers.

Inspired by Imogen Edwards-Jones’ searing exposé of life behind the scenes of the luxury hotel industry in London, TV ONE’s drama series Hotel Babylon takes viewers on a journey beyond the glamour and facade of smiling faces and glittering chandeliers, and into the frenetic, non-stop world of the staff.
Series three sees Charlie (Max Beesley) gain the coveted role of manager. But will it be all plain sailing? With a fashion show, a diamond auction and auditions for a new West End musical, he’s got lots of work on his plate.

What initially attracted Beesley to the show was Charlie’s character. He says it offered a different arena for his acting and was more comical than his previous roles. Three seasons on and he says playing Charlie is still exciting: “It’s a bit different playing the General Manager because there is more responsibility for Charlie. Even though he is not running around like a headless chicken, like he was in the first series, he has to be more centred because there is a lot of pressure on him.”

He says the premise of Hotel Babylon provides unlimited interesting material for the series – from murder mysteries to political arguments, there’s always something new to discover. “The scripts are really funny and well-written, and the great thing is, you can cover so many things in a hotel that it can be continually interesting and not repetitive.”

This series also sees the arrival of Emily (Alexandra Moen) – a gorgeous, upper-class English rose and new public relations expert for the hotel.

As a newcomer to the show, Moen says her character Emily is probably too trusting: “Emily is really well connected and comes from good stock, particularly within the industry, but she definitely doesn’t put on airs and is pretty naïve and innocent in some respects.

“She is ballsy and bold, but an eternal optimist. There is nothing bitchy about her. She doesn’t deliberately step on anyone’s toes, she believes in what she is doing and throws herself full-throttle into crazy situations,” she says.

But will the hotel team welcome Emily’s arrival when it becomes apparent she has already had the opportunity to study their work methods in secret? When the hotel gets poor reviews, it could it spell disaster for the future, until Emily manages to secure the society event of the year – the wedding of a multi-millionaire’s daughter.

UKTV – Thursdays from 15 May, 9.30pm

The hotel with no reservations!
A tantalising and seductive insight into the sexy world of the luxury five-star hotel industry, a place where money not only talks but can buy you just about anything you desire. Inspired by Imogen Edwards-Jones’ revelatory novel of life behind the scenes of London’s top class hotels, an impressive cast of young acting talent come together in this original eight-part drama series to reveal life beyond the glamour and facade of the smiling faces and glittering chandeliers. Instead, delve deeper into the frenetic, non-stop hidden culture of the hotel staff; from the discreet concierge to the flamboyant bar managers – everyone has a story.
Starring: Tamzin Outhwaite (7 Seconds and Red Cap), Max Beesley (Bodies and Bloodlines), Dexter Fletcher (Press Gang and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Natalie Mendoza (The Great Raid and Moulin Rouge).

Hotel Babylon Thursday 10 May, 9.30pm

Actor Paul Telfer is no stranger to Kiwi shores. Currently starring in the British drama ‘Hotel Babylon’ (tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE), Telfer stayed in New Zealand while filming the 2005 mini-series ‘Hercules’.

He says the best thing about filming ‘Hercules’ was spending so much time in New Zealand, where he got to do the most terrifying extreme bungee jump: “I just went for it and plunged 100-feet down a sheer rock face upside down. It was quite the coolest thing I have ever done until you see a picture of my face, which was terrified, and I think if the director had known, I would have been locked in my trailer for the rest of the shoot.”
Playing the legendary character was Telfer’s first lead role after a stint on the US mini-series ‘Spartacus’. “Despite the cartoon element of ‘Hercules’ it was nevertheless a demanding role and with actors like Timothy Dalton and Elizabeth Perkins starring, you had to raise your game,” he says.

“Mini-series are tough because they aren’t quite TV and they aren’t quite film but sit in some bizarre no-man’s land in between, and I remember Dalton taking me aside to say that it would never be this hard again.”

In ‘Hotel Babylon’ Telfer plays Luke Marwood, the new trainee concierge and Tony’s (Dexter Fletcher) protégée. Luke is arrogant and flirty, and willing to play the game as long as there is money to be made. However, he has a tendency to run before he can walk and finds himself pulled up short by his boss for stepping on his toes.

“After the events at the end of the first series, Rebecca felt Tony needed some back up on reception. They don’t know each other and Tony is taking a chance on Luke,” Telfer says.

“There is also a suggestion that Luke doesn’t have the cleanest of pasts, which might have helped him land the job, since he slots straight in,” he adds. The job throws up all sorts of moral questions for Luke, such as do you get a guest whatever he/she requires, even if that might be illegal? His answer is yes, of course, as long as there is something in it for him.

“Luke is eager to ensure that all his guests know he can provide them with whatever they need – a service that could effectively put Tony out of business and Luke out of Tony’s favour. Luke’s philosophy for life seems to be anything, anytime!” he laughs.

“There is a confidence about Luke that is similar to my own, in a sense that after university I had this attitude of I can do anything, throw me in anywhere and I’ll find a way – that young and possibly misguided sense of self-worth. Ultimately, Luke is the sort of person that could blag his way through, which I can certainly sympathise with.”

Tonight’s ‘Hotel Babylon’ sees Telfer’s character in a compromising position. Hotel manager Rebecca Mitchell decides to hold a divorce party/reunion with her best friends and invites three old school mates – Estelle, Louise and Carolyn – to enjoy the luxuries of the five-star hotel.

However, chinks in their friendship begin to show when it’s made clear that Rebecca has been a useless friend since leaving school. Carolyn sleeps with Luke (Telfer) as a way of de-stressing herself, only to have the incident backfire on her and it is not Luke’s finest hour!

Hotel Babylon
Thursday 19 April, 9.30pm

Check in to ‘Hotel Babylon’ for more indulgence, decadence and debauchery (tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE). Tamzin Outhwaite and Max Beesley return as hotel manager Rebecca Mitchell and deputy manager Charlie Edward, to welcome new guests to the hotel, and show viewers a tantalising and seductive insight into the world of the luxury five-star hotel industry – a world where money not only talks but can buy just about anything you desire.

Inspired by Imogen Edwards-Jones’ exposé of life behind the scenes of the luxury hotel industry in London, ‘Hotel Babylon’ takes viewers on a journey beyond the glamour and façade of smiling faces and glittering chandeliers and into the frenetic, non-stop world of the staff.
Edwards-Jones admits when she first met with ‘Anonymous’ – a manager of one of the capital’s five-star hotels and the source for ‘Hotel Babylon’ – to write the exposé, she had preconceptions: “Luxury hotels were obviously going to be expensive and decadent, they were going to be glamorous places where the staff were put upon and the guests had their every whim and fancy catered for. But what I wasn’t expecting was how secretive this world would be or quite how materialistic. This is a business where cash is king, anything goes, and no-one really wants to talk about it.”

Excited about the second series, Edwards-Jones says, “London’s luxury hotels are extraordinary places, full of extraordinary stories and are a microcosm of the world outside”. With the likes of Outhwaite, Beesley and Dexter Fletcher leading the cast again the producers have engaged in some of the best acting talent available, she says.

Work may have taken its toll on the hotel’s driven and ambitious general manager. Series two finds Rebecca in the middle of a divorce, working harder than ever and at times losing sight of her friends. Deputy manager, Charlie, finds his patience tested on many occasions and when faced with a family dilemma, he risks landing himself back in prison.

Other returning characters include the charismatic and discreet head concierge Tony (Fletcher); head receptionist Anna (Emma Pierson); her colleague Ben (Michael Obiora); flamboyant head barman Gino (Martin Marquez); and head of housekeeping Jackie (Natalie Mendoza), who has to deal with the mornings after the night before. Joining ‘Hotel Babylon’ is Paul Telfer (‘Hercules’) who plays Tony’s trainee Luke Marwood. With good looks, confidence and a naughty streak, he promises to turn heads both back and front of house.

The series two premiere sees prominent MP Theresa Evans (Ronni Ancona) forced to hide in the hotel, following the news her husband has had an affair. With relationship failures and work in common – Theresa and Rebecca bond at the hotel bar. When Theresa spots a wealthy Texan giving her the eye, Rebecca encourages her go for it, only to later discover that he is an undercover reporter. Meanwhile, below stairs, the war with rival hotel The Burlington reaches new levels of drama.

Starts Thursday 19 April 9.30pm, TV ONE

In an all-new series of the popular hotel drama, prominent MP Theresa Evans is forced to hide in the hotel, following the news that her husband has had an affair. With relationship failures and work in common, Theresa and Rebecca bond over drinks in the hotel bar – which leads to a grave mistake.