CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: £280 for a box of chocs? That's a snip on Bond St

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: £280 for a box of chocs? That’s a snip on billion pound Bond Street

Billion Pound Bond Street

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The Hotel Inspector

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A word of warning. Should you find yourself invited to Sandringham on Boxing Day — and why not daydream of these things? — don’t raid the Queen’s Christmas chocs.

Earlier this year her oldest friend, emeritus lady-in-waiting Pamela Hicks, revealed that Her Majesty likes to keep two boxes on hand… one to share, and one all to herself. 

Now Adam Lee, chief chocolatier at Charbonnel et Walker (‘by royal appointment’), has revealed the preferences of the regal sweet tooth, on Billion Pound Bond Street (ITV).

He’s not permitted to divulge her favourites directly, he said. 

Then, with reckless indiscretion, he beckoned the camera to the counter display: ‘Our two most popular chocolates are rose and violet creams. I never said a word!’

Now Adam Lee, chief chocolatier at Charbonnel et Walker (‘by royal appointment’), has revealed the preferences of the regal sweet tooth, on Billion Pound Bond Street

This whole hour was as sugary and insubstantial as a violet cream. It dissolved on the tongue, leaving nothing behind but a sickly sensation.

Film-maker Michael Waldman, who last year brought us a similar three-part look at the moneybags of Monaco, strolled up and down Bond Street in the West End, ogling the shop displays.

At the jewellery merchants Boodles, Michael oohed and aahed over a teardrop diamond as shapely as a Hollywood star’s nose — that is, it was probably once bigger, but now it was cut to the perfect design. 

The gemstone was pink, which is Boodles’ trademark colour. 

Boozy shot of the night:

Entrepreneur Tom walked into the Dragons’ Den (BBC1) with bottles of fancy rum with 65 per cent alcohol. 

‘It’s knocking my socks off,’ muttered Sara Davies, as the Daiquiris were served. 

Tom landed a tasty deal. 

That’s the way to do it.

Director Nicholas Wainwright sports a pink tie and matching handkerchief. Even his undies are pink, as he proved by flashing his boxer shorts.

What’s that you say — money can’t buy class? It can’t buy anything at all on Bond Street, unless you have a ridiculous quantity of it. Rents are £2 million a year. At the auction house, a print by Banksy (a print, mark you, not an original artwork) went for £330,000.

Even the lumpy, stuffed iguana in the window of Shapero’s Rare Books will set you back 950 quid. It looks grotesquely as if the taxidermist filled it with a couple of squirts of insulating foam.

Your best bet, if you’re too hard up to afford that £3.2 million powder-pink diamond, is to treat yourself to a £280 box of choccies from C&W. 

Best not to ask about the photograph of the severe lady opposite the door, mind.

 She is founder Madame Charbonnel, reputedly the Parisian lover of Edward VII.

 ‘She’s not the tastiest truffle in the box, is she? Let’s be honest!’ says Mr Lee.

The rudest woman on TV, Alex Polizzi, was saying much the same thing about innkeeper’s wife Yvonne at the Coach And Horses in South Perrott, Dorset, on The Hotel Inspector (C5).

‘Yvonne could do with a bit more support in the thorax area,’ she mused, referring to a certain sag between throat and navel.

I felt for Yvonne. She’d sunk her life savings into this hotel, which even before lockdown had so few guests that she spent her afternoons watching Netflix shows at the reception desk.

She was married to one of those blokes who is forever starting projects he doesn’t finish, so their car park looked like the aftermath of a travellers’ camp.

Hubby James was in a perpetual sweat, which he rubbed down with the bar towels. ‘You’re about as bad as owners as I’ve ever had to deal with,’ Alex told them.

The unspoken agreement on these shows is that proprietors get a roasting in return for the free publicity when their business is reinvented as something attractive and inviting.

This time, the failings of the Coach were so off-putting, and the improvements so superficial, that I’m afraid the programme did James and Yvonne no favours at all.

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