A WEARDALE business will hit the small screen in a popular Channel 4 show that puts hospitality to the test.

The hit Channel 4 show ‘Four in a Bed’ pits bed and breakfast owners up and down the country against each other to decide which of them provides best value for money.

Filming for an episode of the show took place in Weardale and the surrounding area last July.

Vivien and Tony Smith owners of Bowlees Holiday Cottages, near Wolsingham, are to feature in the series next week.

This is not the first time they have been on television. In 2010 they went on holiday to Egypt, together with their son, Jonathan, only to come back and find their whole business had gone up in flames.

A fire gutted the historical farmhouse that had stood since the 1500s, which was their family home and also their business. This prompted ITV to film an episode of Homes from Hell at their farm.

Mrs Smith said: “We went off on holiday only to come back to nothing - we lost everything in a fire. It was the severe winter of 2010 and the fire engine struggled to get through the snow.

"To say we were devastated would be an understatement, but we rebuilt our home and business – in spite of this being coupled with the ‘credit crunch’ at the time.

"We now have six, luxury, self catering cottages, each with a hot tub, sauna, full size indoor heated swimming pool. We have also have created a large fishing lake.

"So when Channel 4 approached us regarding the programme ‘Four in a Bed’ we both thought it was an opportunity to show what hard work and tenacity can achieve.

"It has taken us ten years and a lot of hard work, with highs and lows along the way, but it has been worth it.

"We would like to say a huge thank you to all our cleaning and maintenance staff, without whom we could not have taken part.”

Camera crews visited The Copper Mine pub in Crook and Bradley Burn farm near Wolsingham as the contestants got a taste of the area. Each episode sees the guests go on a leisure activity and Mr and Mrs Smith decided to show the other couples around Beamish to get a real feel for North-East life.

Mrs Smith said “We are very proud of our North-East heritage. The days were long filming from 8am to 9pm for two weeks but we made some good friends and the film crews were very good to work with.

"Not everyone gets the chance to do this so it is something to tell the children and the grandchildren.”

Mr Smith added: “Unfortunately, like many other businesses, we have once again been hit hard due to Coronavirus.

"We have temporarily closed our doors, but hopefully, will once again recover and continue in the future to accommodate many visitors to the area, once our lives return to normal.”

Chris and Gill Stephenson who run the farm shop at Bradley Burn farm praised manager Lynne Robertson and employees for their work when the camera crews came.

Mr Stephenson said: “We are very pleased to be able to do it; it was great that our team was about to help and work with our neighbours we are looking forward to watching it.”

The Copper Mine owner Anne Binks said: “It’s great for publicity for the local area as it hopefully will highlight what a beautiful area we live in. The Copper Mine was very happy to be able to help out with providing the meals for the contestants.”

The programme will air on Monday, April 6 at 5pm and will run all week, with the winners announced in final episode on the Friday.