What We’ve Been Watching: Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel

mark fuller

This week’s episode of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel was the last, and I miss it already. I might have to go and stay in Sanctum for a night or two just to see what’s going on there now the cameras have left.

But it was, as ever, a nail biter in as much as deadlines were yet again looming – not to mention paying guests – and the hotel was far from finished… again.

But, refusing to be daunted by the enormity of the crisis, Mark carried on making preparations for when – and at that point, if – the hotel opened, such as hiring a manager.

We saw him interviewing one candidate who, I have to say, looked far from rock and roll, however an amusing few moments came when we saw the poor man trying to get a word in edgeways, and failing…

As the candidate perched uncomfortably and somewhat precariously on the edge of a squishy leather sofa, Mark repeatedly talked over him and concluded by saying, “Listen, everything you’ve said is fantastic.” He might have added, “Not that I actually heard you saying anything.”

However, Mark was impressed with the bloke and seemed convinced that he was the man for the job, but a short while later, we were told that Mark had hired an old friend, Abbas, to do the job instead. In addition, Mark had hired several other members of staff who’d been on the payroll for three months already, given that the original handing over of the hotel should’ve been in December.

Cue David, Financial Controller who pensively pored over the latest in a long line of revised budgets. But he’s not only Mark’s accountant; we saw in Friday’s show that he’s also Mark’s counsellor – which was evident when he was trying to peel Mark off the ceiling following yet more setbacks with the build – his mother and his voice-of-reason. He’s rather like an upmarket Jiminy Cricket in fact as he tried often to keep control of spiralling costs and, in turn, Mark’s spending.

It must’ve been a crushing blow to David – and of course, a worse one to Mark – when it became evident that with just five days to go until the first paying guests arrived, and with the hotel looking like downtown Beirut, there was no way they could honour the bookings, so they had to be cancelled.

However, there was no time to brood about that because about a million other things were going on, not least of which was the introduction of chef Gavin. Mark, clearly believing in the literal version of ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’, asked Gavin to create some cakes which Mark would give the taste test…

So, Gavin made a chocolate cake and a fruit cake, and Mark wasn’t impressed with either. He thought the cakes were too dry and as a stern faced Gavin watched, Mark began throwing his creations around the office, most notably at David, who, by the way, executed a pretty awesome catch of one lump of airborne cake. Mark either didn’t notice or didn’t care about Gavin’s disapproving stare as he continued to launch the cake at David. We next saw Gavin in the kitchen, saying that he’d like a punch bag installed in order to “de-stress”. Oh dear.

But again, there was no time to worry about mere bagatelles like staff unhappiness as it transpired that the lift’s buttons were in fact not in order. That meant that when Mark pressed ‘3’ and expected to land on the third floor, he and Abbas actually ended up on the fourth floor.

Much Inspector Clouseau’ing followed with the two going in and out of the lift, trying to guess at which floor they might end up on…

The scenes that then ensued could well have been straight out of the classic film, Carry On Abroad. In every room, there was a problem; Mark’s wife Mandy found that the tap heads had been mixed up and hot water came out of the cold tap, and vice versa, while numerous windows wouldn’t open, fixtures came off in their hands and leaks were drenching several rooms.

A small leak soon became a burst pipe, so with the hotel lobby looking more like an indoor pool, and with a team of council inspectors on the way, it would’ve been understandable if Mark had tried to drown himself in his own reception area.

However, by some miracle, the inspectors passed the hotel so all that remained to do was actually get it finished. Meanwhile, Mark spent a night in the hotel in order to “road test” it, and found the porn channel lacking, but, that aside, he seemed to quite enjoy his night. So, his family then joined him for another road test, which included critiquing the breakfast service.

As Mark and his family sat down in the restaurant, Mark wasn’t pleased to discover his silverware was in fact intended for the Borrowers; it was tiny and far too small for actually eating with, so a shamefaced waiter was summoned to replace it with tools fit for the job.

Mark’s first road testing rock ‘n’ roll guest didn’t seem to be overly impressed either; Nicko McBrain from the band Iron Maiden, checked in for the night but found the street noise was too much, despite Mark having had double glazing fitted to try to cut down on the outside noise.

However, despite niggling problems continuing and with the end of the show drawing nigh, we saw that Project Manager Kevin and Site Manager Mick could at last relax and join in the launch party. Mick seemed to be only too eager to join in and made an impassioned speech to camera, sounding as tired and emotional as a newt.

But, two weeks later – and with the hotel fully open – Mick was looking far less jovial when Mark wanted to know why there was water “pi**ing” through his restaurant ceiling…

The show ended with Mark on his phone and saying, “I think I want to kill somebody…”

This has been a brilliant series, it’s just a shame it was only three episodes. It’s been a fascinating and amusing insight into the human stories behind creating a business, which is by no means a new concept in TV shows, but this one had something special; some X factor that made it far more entertaining than other shows of its ilk.

I think that X factor was in the people it portrayed; Mark and his family, David and his calculator and of course, Kevin and Mick and their rubble to riches build… they were all great to watch.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.