The star of Channel 4’s Escape To The Chateau is touring the country with his wife and co-presenter Angel in Dare To Do It, allowing fans to pick their brains. He chats to Carl Marsh.
What is the concept behind your Dick & Angel: Dare To Do It tour?
The TV series is nice, light entertainment on a Sunday evening for you, so the tour is about why we do it and what motivated us to make such a big decision in the first place. All of those things are not covered by the telly.
How have you translated your home makeover TV show to the stage?
When we come back home to the UK, we get stopped everywhere we go – people want to know that little bit more. People just want to look you in the eye, and they want to ask you questions. And we thought, well, we have events where people come to us, but not everybody can get to France. It’s much easier if we go to people and give them a chance to come along and see us. We will be talking to people in a much more intimate way.
That makes sense as, with a TV show like yours, it must be edited down so it’s watchable. They don’t want to film someone just painting a wall for an hour, do they?
[Laughs] There is only so much you can get into a programme. And television’s interesting as we have people come here [to the Chateau] and the recurring comment we get is that we are the same as we are as on the TV. That’s who we are. So, I know the production company try to keep it as real as possible. And that’s very, very important that we don’t all come across all ‘jeopardy and drama’ that’s not there. We’d both thought about what we are doing. We wouldn’t have jumped into this just to waste money and end up crying and stuff like that – that’s not who we are. We are planners. You know, Angela comes from an entrepreneurial and accountancy as well as a design background. I’m an ex-army colonel, for goodness’ sake. We are sensible and that’s one of the things the TV show is about: being sensible, knowing you can do it if you just think about it.
A lot of people dream about doing what you guys did, but it’s the ‘but’ that stops a lot of people.
The dream doesn’t have to be a castle in France. The dream can be a change in career, write your novel; the dream can be anything, but it’s there to do what you want to do in life. And for us, it involves a castle and involves sort of just silly things, you know, “Who would buy a castle!” Especially with no water, electricity, heating or sewage, that is a stupid thing to do! [laughs] It’s not because we wanted what we wanted, and we got it. But if somebody just wants to get a boat and sail around the world – get on a boat and sail around the world! Do what you want. We only live once.
What’s your advice for those who ‘dream’ but never ‘do’?
It’s too easy to just wish. Regrets aren’t usually about what you do do; they’re usually made from what you don’t do! But you have to think, and that’s the bit that comes back. Our TV series isn’t a full-on car crash, with people crying and wailing and saying, “This is terrible, what are we going to do?” People don’t watch Escape To The Chateau as a voyeur, watching us fuck up. You just don’t! [laughs] What they do is they see our little kiddies growing up and having a lovely time… All of those stories are just warm, lovely things. You can make your life like that, if you’re prepared to do it. The harder you work, the luckier you get – but you have to work hard at it. It’s not just luck.
St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Mon 9 Mar. Tickets: £25-£29.50 (sold out – check box office for returns). Info: 029 2087 8444 / www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk