HOTEL BABYLON RETURNS FOR MORE DECADENT, FIVE-STAR DRAMA
- Season Premiere Features Special Guest Star, Paula Abdul -
Indulge yourself with Hotel Babylon, a glossy drama series inspired by Imogen Edwards-Jones' searing expos� on London's most exclusive hotels. Hotel Babylon is a place where guests can have whatever they want � for a price. Whether it's throwing a Grand Prix victory celebration or helping to launch a new fashion line, the staff at Hotel Babylon works tirelessly for their glamorous, image-obsessed customers. This season, Paula Abdul checks in as a special guest star for the season premiere.
Hotel Babylon, season three premieres Wednesday, March 12, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
At the start of the new season, Charlie Edwards (Max Beesley, Bodies), the viewers' guide to what's behind the glittering chandeliers, has been promoted to manager. His first task is to cope with a new public relations expert, Emily (Alexandra Moen). She is beautiful, ambitious and scrambling to put Hotel Babylon back on top following a bad review. But she gets off on the wrong foot with the entire staff when she poses as a journalist, interviewing her future colleagues who divulge a little too much information. She will need to earn their trust back if she wants to last longer than a week.
In the third season the beloved staff � including Tony the Concierge, Receptionists Ben and Anna, Barman Gino and Jackie, Head of Housekeeping � will have to cope with a wide array of demanding guests, including faux aristocrats, a child star, a Michelin-starred chef, and a master illusionist. They'll host everything from a diamond auction to auditions for a musical � and somehow make it all look effortless.
The special guest stars this season at Hotel Babylon are suitably glamorous and include Paula Abdul (American Idol), Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Bleak House), John Barrowman (Torchwood) and Michael Landes (Ghost Whisperer, CSI).
BBC Worldwide will release Hotel Babylon Season One on DVD February 26, right before the season three premiere on BBC AMERICA. The 3-disc set includes bonus material, including audio commentary and a making-of featurette.
BBC AMERICA brings audiences a new generation of award-winning television featuring news with a uniquely global perspective, provocative dramas, razor-sharp comedies and life-changing makeovers. BBC AMERICA pushes the boundaries to deliver high quality, highly addictive and eminently watchable programming to viewers who demand more. BBC AMERICA is distributed by Discovery Networks. It is available on digital cable and satellite TV in more than 60 million homes.
WHAT THE BRITISH PRESS SAID "It's an eye-opener-and-a-half�lifting the veil on a cynical world behind a luxurious facade and having enormous fun in the process...swanky, fast-moving... I loved it." Daily Express "Like a perfectly executed souffl� � impressive to look at, delicious to eat, easy to digest and so light it is almost insubstantial�.There is much to be said for a good souffl�." The Times "It's flashy, it's trashy, and it can't fail to be a hit." Sunday Express "Hilarious ... cheeky, frothy, high-gloss drama." Daily Mail "Top stuff." Daily Star Sunday "Max Beesley is brilliant." The Times WHO'S WHO
Charlie Edwards (played by Max Beesley)
The new General Manager of Hotel Babylon is attractive and single, but has had flings with both his colleague, Jackie, and his boss, Rebecca, in previous seasons. Charlie is our everyman, exposing the dirty little secrets we need to know. Just as driven and ambitious as his predecessor, Charlie is determined to make his mark and ensure the hotel's standards and profits are at an optimum. However, running a tight ship comes at a price, and Charlie soon learns that his decisions aren't always going to be popular with his staff.
Jack Harrison (played by Lee Williams)
The new Deputy Manager is quietly confident but a tad too big for his boots, not to mention wet behind the ears. When Charlie sets him an interview task of looking after the most difficult guest Hotel Babylon has ever had, will Jack rise to the occasion?
Emily James (played by Alexandra Moen)
The new Head of Public Relations is beautiful, ambitious and wants to put Hotel Babylon back on top following a bad restaurant review. But she gets off to a rocky start with her future colleagues. She will need to earn their trust if she's to last longer than a week.
Anna Thornton-Wilton (played by Emma Pierson)
Head Receptionist Anna is, let's say, aspirational. She works in the luxury hotel business because she feels completely at home there, and working at the hotel is the only way she can afford to be a part of it. She's gorgeous, and knows it. As far as she's concerned, it's only a matter of time before she bags a wealthy and eligible man. Her sole ambition is to marry into the lifestyle she believes she deserves, but her plans change when she finds herself head over heels in love � and not with the wealthy man she imagined.
Tony Casemore (played by Dexter Fletcher)
The Concierge of Hotel Babylon, Tony, is married, with children. But with the hours he works, he doesn't get to see much of them. As Concierge, he's a true specialist � he knows everything a guest needs to know. He can get clients anything, from anywhere, and always within twenty-four hours. An effortless, easy-going charmer, he has worked in the hotel business for years and knows it inside-out.
Jackie Clunes (played by Natalie Mendoza)
Head of Housekeeping, Jackie, is a staunch team player, and fiercely protective of the below-stairs staff � whom the guests rarely see. She always goes the extra mile for her team, but sometimes finds herself in deep trouble as a result. When things go horribly wrong, there is only one person she can turn to.
Ben Trueman (played by Michael Obiora)
Ben, the Receptionist at Hotel Babylon, loves the luxury hotel world because of its style and inherent campness. He's been at Babylon for two years, but is still intimidated by some of his colleagues. This season, when new Head Chef, Otto Clark (Alan Davies), throws his weight around, Ben faces the ultimate dilemma. His impeccable moral convictions could, however, be his saving grace.
Season premiere � guest star Paula Abdul
Anna is in heaven when highly successful clothing company, De Rigeur, holds a fashion show at the hotel to launch their new collection. Anna's a big fan of the label and quickly ingratiates herself with Duncan, the creative director, in order to get her hands on the collection's star piece, the Astrix dress. However, things at De Rigeur aren't as glossy
as they seem to be. Duncan accuses his boss, Price, of using sweatshops in order to keep clothing costs down. When Price refuses to listen to Duncan, he finds himself an unlikely ally � Anna. Charlie sees Anna in a new light when she shuns her usual materialistic instincts.
Hotel Babylon, season three premieres Wednesday, March 12, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Love is in the air as Valentine's night approaches, but the restaurant has received a damning review from London's most influential restaurant critic, Alexander Crawfield. Chef Adam Price's head is on the block, but the new Head of Public Relations for the hotel, Emily, sees this as an opportunity to prove her worth. At break-neck speed, she convinces Charlie to hire celebrity chef, Otto Clark, organizes a big Valentine's Night restaurant re-launch with Otto at the helm and audaciously invites Crawfield back for more! Despite his loyalty to Adam, who's clearly hit rock bottom, Charlie is in a corner � with only 24 hours to turn things around and ensure a good review to put the restaurant back on the map.
Episode two premieres Wednesday, March 19, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Hotel tycoon, Donald Stern's little girl, Naomi is getting married to wealthy American Earl Archer and he wants her to have the best wedding possible. Normally, this would be no problem at all for Babylon, it's just that the Sterns have moved the wedding from the Burlington to Babylon and expect everything to be arranged within a day. Will Emily and Charlie be able to guarantee Stern a wedding to remember' Meanwhile, a weight loss guru is staying at the hotel to promote his new book. But staff snooping reveals the guru's penchant for macaroni cheese and a past he would rather keep hidden.
Episode three premieres Wednesday, March 26, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The final rounds of auditions for a new musical based on the hit children's book, Princess Scrunchie, are taking place in the hotel and it's alive with precocious kids, crazy showbiz parents as well as a swarm of pestering journalists. Tony is stunned when his 13 year-old daughter, Liz, arrives out of the blue and announces that she's in the final ten. Meanwhile, Gino's brother pays a visit to the hotel and a new management candidate is asked to prove his worth by looking after and appeasing the hotel's most notorious guest.
Episode four premieres Wednesday, April 2, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Charlie is starting to realize the pressure of managing a five star hotel. He quickly brings in a new sommelier to better the profits of the wine cellar, but then finds out the chambermaids haven't been paid. His finances get even more sketchy when an old friend, an established diamond dealer, wants to have the hotel host his exclusive jewelry auction. Charlie has trouble refusing, even though he has no idea where to secure money for the extra security that the auction house demands. With Head Office on his back, the chambermaids at their wits end and his friend, Hutch, needing help, Charlie is forced to make a difficult decision to secure the extra finance he needs.
Episode five premieres Wednesday, April 9, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Jack has just been made the new GM and this year's big romantic comedy is being filmed in Babylon. Having a film crew in the hotel quickly vexes the regulars. When someone leaks to a popular gossip website that the lead male has indulged in a little botox, he furiously threatens to leave the hotel, jeopardizing both the film and the hotel's profits. Ben and Gino are hit by the acting bug � they're both desperate for parts in the film, and will do anything to get even the smallest role. Meanwhile, Anna is having a dilemma. Ned has just invited her for a weekend away in New York, but she can't get Charlie out of her head.
Episode six premieres Wednesday, April 16, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
A chat show host has asked Tony to find him some company. But Tony is loathe to help, as he's on warning from Jack to keep prostitute action to a discreet minimum. Worse, the guest insists on using one of his regular contacts. There's nothing for Tony to do apart from escort the woman to the guest's room. When the she attacks her client and escapes, Tony faces getting fired. But he's most concerned about the girl, who, he now realizes, is underage and probably in danger. Meanwhile, a famous illusionist is in town to do his next big stunt � disappear from Trafalgar Square. Anna's interest is piqued, but she gets irked when the magic man is more interested in Ben.
Episode seven premieres Wednesday, April 23, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
When a faith healer arrives at Babylon, Jack is skeptical but Emily is taken with him, believing he has something. Meanwhile, Ned realizes the only way he's going to see Anna is by hiring a room in the hotel and luring her in. But his plans are utterly foiled once again. Shortly after she arrives, celebrations are cut short when Anna hears what she believes to be a gun shot in an adjoining room.
Episode eight premieres Wednesday, April 30, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
General Manager, Charlie Edwards Max Beesley
Concierge, Tony Casemore Dexter Fletcher
Head Receptionist, Anna Thornton-Wilton Emma Pierson
Head of Housekeeping, Jackie Clunes Natalie Mendoza
Head Barman, Gino Primarola Martin Marquez
Receptionist, Ben Trueman Michael Obiora
Food & Beverage Manager, James Schofield Ray Coulthard
Deputy Manager, Jack Harrison Lee Williams
Head of Public Relations, Emily James Alexandra Moen
Chambermaid, Tanya Mihajlov Danira Govic
Adam Price Jeremy Sheffield
Christopher Price Paul Freeman
David Duncan Oliver Chris
American Guest Paula Abdul
Justine Nicola Stephenson
Complaining Guest Lee Sharpe
Otto Clark Alan Davies
Adam Price Jeremy Sheffield
Sir Ralph Hamilton Terence Harvey
Lady Amelia Hamilton Anita Dobson
Giles Hamilton Travis Oliver
Alexander Crawfield Nathaniel Parker
Opera Singer Lesley Garrett
Andrew Oliver Boot
Susie Helen George
Otto Clark Alan Davies
Donald Stern Gary Waldhorn
Earl Archer Michael Landes
Naomi Stern Katie McGuinness
Brad Shelford Don Gilet
Ned Daniel LaPaine
Mr Delaney Jon Culshaw
Maxwell Paul Kaye
Liz Casemore Charlotte Spencer
Scarlett Senior Bonnie Langford
Scarlett Junior Lauren Humphries
Ginelli Primirola John Marquez
Hutch Kwame Kwei-Armah
Sparks Marc Bannerman
Nadine Daisy Beaumont
Murray Jason Watkins
Mike Laurence Edney
Simon John Barrowman
Katie Megan Dodds
Tom James Lance
Rachel Donna Air
Mei Sophie Wu
Jiang Dan Li
Eddie Palmer Steven Pinder
Dan Black David Schneider
Caroline Samantha Bond
Martin Peter Wight
Nathan Adam Kotz
Spencer Bob Goody
Jonah Nicholas Rowe
Writers ~ Episodes 1 & 8, Simon Block
Episode 2 Imogen Edwards-Jones
Episodes 3&7 Andrew Rattenbury
Episode 4 Jack Williams
Episode 5 Marston Bloom
Episode 6 Howard Overman
Directors ~ Episodes 1, 2, 3 Julian Simpson
Episodes 4, 5, 6 Andy Hay
Episodes 7&8 Sam Miller
Series Created by Tony Basgallop
Based on the book Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous
Series Consultant Imogen Edwards-Jones
Director of Photography Sean Van Hales
Production Designer Michael Fleischer
Editors Tim Marchant, Andy Morrison &
Series Producer Matthew Patnick
Producer Polly Williams
Executive Producers Christopher Aird, Gareth Neame
Hotel Babylon is a Carnival Films production for BBC
Max Beesley has had a busy year. In between filming season two and three of Hotel Babylon, he played a DJ in the ITV drama, Talk To Me, and shot a five-part series for BBC One called The Last Enemy.
"I'm going to take some time off and go down to Cuba with my family to play congas and relax by the sea. The plan is that my dad (a talented musician) and I will head off to the bar for a little drink and then hopefully just start grooving and playing a bit of salsa while my mum and sister soak up the sun," he laughs.
This is Max's last year playing Charlie in Hotel Babylon and while he has had a great time in the role it is time for him to move onto new horizons.
"I've had a great three years on Hotel Babylon," says Max "but the time is right for Charlie to make a move and there are lots of exciting new projects ahead I want to get my teeth into. He's been a fantastic character to play and I'm now really looking forward to throwing myself into new challenges."
However for Max, relaxing is always short-lived because after Cuba, he plans to head to Los Angeles.
"For the first time in ages I will be out of a long-term contract and it's a good feeling," he explains. "I like the idea of living back in America," he says. "I lived there for a few years and I made a few films and had a bit of fun and I do really like the lifestyle. I think if you keep to yourself and don't go to all the English pubs with all the English actors talking about what jobs you have been going up for then you can have a pretty good time. Equally don't get off the plane thinking you are going to change the whole history of Hollywood, which I have been guilty of in the past!" he laughs.
Staying in a five-star hotel close to the set, Max was able to observe the GM's role at close quarters.
"I was talking to the General Manager in one of the hotels I stayed in during filming and he got up at 3:30 a.m. every morning and did paperwork from 4:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. and then went on site and finished working at 7:00 p.m. which is just mental."
Max cooked up a storm for the Hotel Babylon cast one evening and took great pleasure in showing off his hard learned culinary skills to his colleagues.
"I'd been promising to cook the boys on the show a meal for the last three years and finally I got them round to the house one night. They were really sceptical about what they were going to get but let's just say they were suitably blown away by my slow cooked tomatoes and basil," he laughs.
What his colleagues didn't know was that Max regularly attends cooking classes and is a collector of wine.
"I trained with Raymond Blanc [star of BBC AMERICA's Last Restaurant Standing] at the Manoir and on one occasion had to make a cheese souffl�. I whacked loads of cheese into mine, because I wanted it to rise beautifully and I knew he would like it. He tasted my friend's and it was just okay then tasted mine and loved it which was great!"
Dexter Fletcher isn't one to sit around between shows and this year has been no exception. He has managed to pack in performances alongside Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in Stardust and Keith Allen and Jonas Armstrong in Robin Hood [BBC AMERICA premiere April 26] which is no mean feat given he only had five months off in between filming seasons two and three of Hotel Babylon.
"Stardust has come out so my glorious moment of working with De Niro has finally made it to the screen and Mr Vaughan (Matthew, his long time friend and director) is going on to bigger and better things all the time," he explains. "I also had fun out in Budapest with the Robin Hood gang playing Count Fredrick, a German Count with a very dodgy accent charging about in the forest in tights with Jonas Armstrong, Lucy Griffiths and Keith Allen."
Dexter began his television career very early on by going to a drama club two nights a week. He got some small extras parts in films and TV at the age of seven before going on to do Steptoe and Son, the UK version of Sanford and Son. He then landed a part in the cult transatlantic movie Bugsy Malone.
"I played Babyface over thirty years ago in Bugsy Malone when I was nine years old alongside Scott Baio and a very young Jodie Foster. I then went on to work on numerous films before joining the RSC full time at Stratford at the age of 16."
Fletcher returned to film in his early thirties when he landed parts in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Band of Brothers and Topsy Turvy. His last two films, Tristan and Isolde and Doom, were released last year, but there is still much more that Fletcher would like to do, like Zombie movies in Canada!
"I'm about to star in a Zombie movie being filmed in Canada as the lead. And weirdly, it's written by the father of a friend of mine that I haven't seen for a long time � 7 years to be exact. He called me up out of the blue to say that his dad has got this script and the money to do it and wants me to play the lead," he laughs. "It's a kind of interesting role as I start off as a mild-mannered school teacher when suddenly there is the epidemic which sweeps the country and people begin to die. From there come a few survivors and my teacher turns into a zombie killer. And because my character does actually survive the entire movie I'm hoping that it's successful and silly and fun and scary and that they go on to make three more of them which would do no harm."
In order to play the role of Tony Casemore, the ever efficient concierge of Hotel Babylon, Dexter initially spent some time with a real-life concierge whose identity he is reluctant to reveal.
"I can't really tell you who he is because I don't want to compromise him � he was very good to me and gave me a real insight into the job and into the more unsavory side of the job which I hope I've managed to convey. He also lent me his Golden Keys which I wear on set on my lapels."
Essentially Tony is a family man but in season three, his role as father figure and husband is challenged when he meets an attractive young hotel guest whose proposition is hard to turn down.
"Yes he is a good family man," he explains, "and he always tries to make the right decision but the writers are challenging Tony's values this season. I'm glad to say he still remains steadfast and loyal. He sacrifices a lot in order to create a comfortable family life at home for his wife and kids and there is always that unintentional clash because he does work so hard he never gets to see his family. I think he learns a lesson in that particular episode about how you can't take people for granted in the family, even though you have to do the right thing, which hopefully he ends up doing and she kind of forgives him in the end."
Dexter was the only actor to have direct scenes with Paula Abdul in episode one.
"Last year Ray (Coulthard who plays James) had some lovely scenes with Jerry Hall and one in particular where she kisses him which I managed to photograph on my mobile phone. This year, Paula Abdul insisted that I would be the only one she would speak to, and yes, Ray did beg to have a scene with Paula but she said �No I will only speak to Fletcher as he is the most handsome best-looking actor on set,'" he jokes. "Actually she was dreamy � she came with her little entourage which was all very glamorous and exciting but she was very up on her scene and knew her lines and it was a real thrill to work with her. We love it when people like her want to come on our little show."
The show keeps going from strength to strength and the list of guest artists keeps getting longer and longer, which Dexter believes is in part due to the terrific writing that attracts the talent, and the good time they have when they come to the set.
"Well aside from me being enormously good looking and attractive to be around � I think the guest artists all know they are going to have a good time. When you watch the show you can see that everyone is having a blast and from what I'm told that really comes across, and it's fun to do something that you wouldn't normally get to � Jon Culshaw, Alan Davies and John Barrowman are all playing roles that they don't normally play. I think the real success of the show is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's glamorous, it's sexy, lots of people watch it, enjoy it and it is the ultimate guilty pleasure."
There doesn't appear to be much that Natalie Mendoza can't do. Her acting career began on stage at the age of fifteen when she starred in a production of Cats in Sydney and went on to perform all over the world in productions of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon. She also has an album coming out this year!
"I went out to Nashville for a few weeks during filming to do some recording and ended up writing a song for Vanessa Williams while I was there. My sister is a regular performer and actually lives in Nashville so I just fell in love with the place. I always thought it was a city solely for country music but realized very quickly that all the best musicians are there and they can play everything. It's an incredibly inspiring place to be. The people out there are amazing�they have retained their heart and haven't succumbed to capitalism � you really feel that southern warmth the minute you step off the plane."
Music and acting have been a part of Natalie's life from an early age. Her father is the Spanish/Filipino Jazz pianist and arranger, Noel Mendoza and her English/German mother is Robin Jackson, an Australian TV personality. Music has always been a huge part of Natalie's life and her band, Jackson Mendoza, have enjoyed huge hits in Australia and been signed to Virgin records internationally.
She is married to music producer Eliot Kennedy and has just recorded a solo album scheduled for release later this year.
"It seems that I have always been singing and acting and I see them both as equally important to me. I trained at the Old Vic but music has been in the house from when I was young so it's in my blood. It's great that I can do both and I am really excited about where my career will go from here."
In series three Jackie's wardrobe has had a make-over as she steps out of the uniform and into Alexander McQueen, Mark Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Armani and Roberto Cavalli.
"In past seasons Jackie, a hard-working mum, was seen mostly wearing suits and tailored blouses. However, this year she has had a bit of a pay-rise and has ditched the suit in favour of a fresher, sexier look. Michael Johnson (costume designer) and I had so much fun shopping for Jackie this year."
Rock climbing is one of the skills Natalie picked up when in training for her role in the cult thriller, The Descent.
"I only learned rock-climbing while I was on set, but found it quite addictive. You have to be present in that moment and focus completely on each movement, otherwise you will fall. Until I did that training I didn't realize how many thoughts are constantly pouring through your head and you can become really quite unfocused. It's almost like an active meditation which is really difficult but I love it."
Natalie was able to put her climbing skills to the test when she and husband Eliot discovered they were locked out of their home one night.
"I saw a window open at the very top of our three story house and thought, �I can get up there.' So I climbed up and over the glass conservatory and up a pipe. I was swinging from side to side and my husband didn't say a word until I got to the top when he said he was married to cat woman. I think I scared the life out of him."