Next Episode of Phil Spencer's Stately Homes is
In this new series, Phil Spencer reveals his passion for period property on a grand tour of Britain's magnificent stately homes. From the spectacular Scottish Lowlands to the stunning South Downs, Phil reveals how and why these houses came to be, and some of the jaw-dropping bills their owners were landed with.
First stop is Burghley House, a masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture set in 1400 acres of Lincolnshire parkland. Phil's host is Miranda Rock, a descendent of the famous Cecil family, who've lived there for over 400 years.
Phil Spencer visits one of the most celebrated stately homes in Britain - Castle Howard in Yorkshire; the setting for the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, and a magnificent 'piece of theatre' in its own right. Nick Howard's family has lived there for more than 300 years. He leads Phil up the grand staircase, through the stunning crimson dining room and also opens up the family mausoleum. The great hall has Italian murals and a 21-metre-high dome modelled on St Paul's. In the original 18th-century ledgers, Phil uncovers the sheer scale of spending and reveals how it took years and an army of masons, craftsmen and artists to fashion this extraordinary building.
In this edition, Phil visits Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, ancestral home of the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years. 'It's not your typical Location, Location, Location home!' admits Andrew, the 15th Duke. And with its magical shell grotto, sumptuous state rooms and 3000-acre deer park, it's hard to disagree. Woburn started life as a Cistercian Monastery, until it was transformed by the 4th Earl Francis Russell. On his journey through Woburn's history Phil 'meets' some of the other ancestors, including the 'flying' Duchess who turned part of the Abbey into a military hospital during the First World War, and the 'showman' Duke who saved Woburn from a crippling tax bill in the 1950s by throwing open his doors to the public - even welcoming nudists! Phil joins the skilled team of masons charged with restoring the Abbey to its former glory - and the crack cleaning squad who keep the house spick and span.
Phil visits the magnificent Holkham Hall - an 18th-century Palladian mansion in North Norfolk - to uncover how and why it was built. With unprecedented access to the archives, Phil reveals the mind-boggling quantities of materials, labour and money it took to create a little piece of Italy in this quiet corner of England - a project involving a 30-year build and three million bricks. He tells the story of Thomas Coke, the founder of the House, a reformed teenage gambler who fell in love with Italy on a grand tour. Coke built Holkham in the image of a Roman palace - and helped change the architectural landscape of Britain in the process. With a VIP tour from the current owner, Lord Leicester shows Phil the magnificent marbles in The Statue Gallery and the Old Masters in The Landscape Room, adding: 'You see people's jaws drop when they walk in'.
Phil travels north of the border to Hopetoun House in the spectacular Scottish Lowlands. With VIP access to estate documents, Phil digs deep in the archives to uncover the extraordinary history of the house and the mind-boggling quantities of materials, skilled labour and money it took to create one of Scotland's grandest-ever designs. Having made their fortune from lead mining, the Hopetoun family spent big on their country pile, employing not one, but two celebrated Scottish architects. Accompanied by the current Lord Hopetoun, Phil inspects the lavish rooms, many of which are unchanged since Georgian times. He also meets the staff and tours the 6500-acre estate.
Phil visits a stately home with a racy reputation: Glorious Goodwood, on the stunning South Downs. Famous for giving guests a good time, Goodwood sits in a vast estate where every acre is dedicated to entertainment. It's where the wealthy flock for a flutter on the horses. It's also famous for cricket, parties and motor racing. Phil's host is the current owner Lord March, who's lived at Goodwood since 1994. He opens the doors to the glamorous state rooms, and takes Phil for a spin round the famous race track in one of his most prized vintage cars. With access to the family archive, Phil reveals the origins of the estate, which stretches back to a royal scandal and the love child of Charles II.
Phil Spencer(Phil Spencer)
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