Mark admits defeat as he sells The Hotel
The Hotel C4
"YOU'VE got a few members of staff who, with a bit of direction, can be quite good – they're not all half-wits." As encouragements to take a job go, only 'you'll get to see Bradford – up close' could possibly be less inspiring.
Mark was finally selling The Grosvenor, Torquay, urging reservations manager Alison to fill his shoes.
"You're the only person who can do it," he told her. "If you don't do it, who will?" And certainly it seemed unlikely Basil Fawlty would be available.
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Alison, though, was unsure. "I managed the Grosvenor'," she pondered. "How does that look on your CV?"
To use a football analogy, I'd put it alongside 'I managed Rochdale Reserves'.
In recent months, Mark, pictured above, had sunk deeper and deeper into the mire. "The global credit crunch wasn't my fault," he railed. Although exhibiting his hotel's failings on primetime TV might have been. "I can't believe you've worked there 40-odd years," despaired his mum, "and are leaving with just a picture, bed, and a television." She paused. "Mind you, it is a 60-inch." Yes, if you're on the scrapheap you might at least watch Jeremy Kyle on a 5ft screen. Alison was organising a leaving do. "We've got Twiglets – Mark loves Twiglets." It's coming to something when your entire working life is valued at nought more than a gnarled nibble.
Life at the Grosvenor went on. Sixty-year-old Ken was staying with 40-year-old partner Tracy. "I'm his third wife," she revealed. "He normally ditches them when they get to 27 so I've done quite well." I suppose when you get to 60 you want a steady saloon rather than a sports car.
Tracy had brought Ken to the Grosvenor to stir him from his domestic torpor. "I'm happy on my sofa reading my paper," he said, "but sometimes you have to force yourself to do things you don't particularly want to do." True to his word he was last seen taking part in an inflatable dolphin race. "Mount your dolphins!" cried Mark, not a sentence you generally hear pre-watershed.
Elsewhere, Faye and Mike had returned to the Grosvenor after marrying there last summer. Faye was pregnant, sparking an argument over what to call the baby.
"I like Joshua," said Mike, "but we found out our nephew's granddad's parrot is called Joshua." To make matters worse they wanted Polly for a girl.
"What about Joseph?" pondered Mike. But Faye was having none of it. "It's Katy's son's name in Coronation Street." I've a feeling she wasn't hugely religious.
Mark was saying a final goodbye. "You shouldn't feel sorry for me," he said. "I did my best and I failed."
If only Gordon Brown had said that.