ENTERTAINMENT
11/09/2021 05:00 BST | Updated 13/09/2021 07:41 BST

A Place In The Sun: 25 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets As Revealed By The Show’s Presenters

Jasmine Harman, Scarlette Douglas and Laura Hamilton unpack the secrets of the much-loved Channel 4 daytime series.

After 21 years on our screens, A Place In The Sun is one of the UK’s longest running – and most loved - shows.

During the pandemic it has been the perfect escapist telly as the presenters hop around the world with house hunters on the lookout for the perfect home from home.

HuffPost UK caught up with three of its hosts – Jasmine Harman, Scarlette Douglas and Laura Hamilton – to find out if it really is as glamorous as it looks (it isn’t) and discovered lots of other behind-the-scenes goss too (we have a feeling Jasmine won’t be working with cows ever again).

There’s no such thing as a typical day of filming 

Laura Hamilton: “We have a running joke that as soon as the cameras start rolling you’re guaranteed to have an angle grinder, someone will start hoovering their apartment, there’ll be a leaf blower or if we’re on a golf course they’ll start mowing the greens!”

Channel 4
Laura Hamilton

Behind the scenes it’s not all that glamorous

Jasmine Harman: “People think it’s more like a holiday, which isn’t strictly true, because even though we’re travelling it is still work. I remember when I first got the job I was like ‘my god this is an absolute dream come true’, and I’m nearly 18 years in now and I still love it. But it is work.” 

The show is recced the week before filming starts

Laura Hamilton: “There’s a team behind the scenes that work incredibly hard as well as the production team back home. They’re the ones who do a lot of research.”

Filming each property takes longer than people expect

Jasmine Harman: “It takes a couple of hours to film each property. We usually see one or sometimes two in a day. It’s great for the house hunters as they get to spend a good long time in the properties. If you were going round with an agent you’d be in and out in 15 minutes.” 

BRIAN J RITCHIE
Jasmine Harman

The house hunters spend longer than a few minutes in the properties they view

Laura Hamilton: “It’s not just in and out in two minutes as you see on TV, which is fantastic for anyone that comes on the show because they really get to spend time in each property.”

There are back-up properties

Laura Hamilton: “Sometimes properties sell before we have a chance to show them so we have to go out and try and find another one.”

There isn’t a hair or make-up team

Jasmine Harman: “We do it all ourselves. As you’ve probably noticed Johnny (Irwin) and Ben (Hillman) and the guys are really good at doing their own make-up (laughs).”

Brexit hasn’t put people off buying abroad

Laura Hamilton: “Obviously there’s a change in how much time you can spend there, but predominantly the people that come on A Place In The Sun are looking to buy a holiday home, and being able to spend three months in six in your holiday home is quite a lot of time. “

It might not look it, but it really is hard work

Scarlette Douglas: “It’s 47 minutes of footage  but to get all that footage it takes four and a half days to film standing in the sunshine. I know it sounds woe is me, but standing with no sunglasses, no hat, with the sun on you – it’s difficult. And I know that (fellow presenter) Jasmine has passed out once when she was pregnant because it’s not a joke, it’s very hard work.”

Filming back-to-back episodes can take its toll

Laura Hamilton: “There have been times when I’ve finished one episode and I’m interviewing the couple about their property search and you accidentally call them the names of the previous week’s house hunters. You’re like ‘I’m so sorry!’ That’s happened to me once or twice.”

The presenters often encounter some unexpected sights

Jasmine Harman: “Sometimes we’ve had to shoot around people (laughs). You’ll walk into a room and find an elderly relative in the bed! Things like that have happened on more than one occasion. There have been a lot of times when we go into a property and have to clean it. That’s always fun when you’re picking people’s dirty pants off the floor. Most people make the effort if they know we’re coming to film, but now and again we do get the odd one which is in a bit of a mess.”

The hosts become like a security blanket for the house hunters

Laura Hamilton: “Buying abroad is a big thing. It’s lovely for people to know that we’re there and we’ve got their back. At the same time, it sounds crazy, but it’s an amazing thing for me and the other hosts of the show as well. It is a huge thing in people’s lives and I’m such an emotional person… if I’m making an offer on a house I get goosebumps even when I’m in 36 degree heat!”

Channel 4
Laura Hamilton

There are strict rules on what you can and can’t wear on the show

Jasmine Harman: “As we film over a period of a week we have to wear the same clothes. It’s pretty unpleasant if you’re somewhere really hot! You’re not allowed to black or white, or spots or stripes, or check or geometric patterns. A lot of people turn up with those glasses that go dark in the sun. You’re not allowed to wear them either because you can’t see what someone is thinking. It’s tricky if I’m trying to gauge if they like a property or not, but also because you can see reflections of the crew in the dark glasses.”

There have been some regretful outfit choices

Scarlette Douglas: “I’ve had quite a few embarrassing outfits. When I look back I think ‘what was I thinking!’ The one when I had my bright pink socks on and purple sandals and purple hair to match! I’m not gonna lie, at the time I loved it but looking back I don’t think I should’ve worn that outfit! But if I was to think about wearing it again I’d like to think someone around me would say something.”

Even the presenters are surprised at the prices some of the house hunters get their properties for

Laura Hamilton: “Sometimes I’m upfront with the house hunters and say ‘this is ridiculous’. But at the end of the day I’m representing them so I can offer my advice but it’s their money and I have to go with whatever they want me to offer.” 

Yes, the presenters and house hunters have been locked out

Laura Hamilton: “There have been some funny times when we’ve been outside the property and the wind has blown the door shut and the keys have been in the property and we’re all locked outside with the cameras inside!”

The presenters have to wear the same outfit for a week 

Laura Hamilton: “We don’t film the show in one day. We make it look like that so I’m always trying to pick an outfit that I can hand wash in my hotel room and will dry overnight.” 

The crew and presenters are a close knit bunch

Jasmine Harman: “We’ve known each for so long. Both of my children have godparents that are soundmen from the show.” 

Sometimes the hosts revisit places they have house-hunted before

Jasmine Harman: “Last week I was filming in the Costa Tropical in Spain and that brought back memories because I filmed one of my first shows there. That was where my husband and I had our very first date in a pizzeria. Last week he had some time off work and he came out and we went back to the restaurant, which was still there! When we walked in, there’s an Italian man who runs it, and he said ‘ahhh, you still want the diavola, extra spicy?’ He still remembered our order from all those years ago! It was like going back in time.”

The presenters have to do their own laundry

Scarlette Douglas: “I’ve got this big hand washing soap bar so I do all that and I’ve got a little fabric softener and I rinse it all out in the bath and because it’s usually so hot put it out to dry on the balcony. I know the house hunters are told to bring two of the same outfit.”

Channel 4
Scarlette Douglas

Filming is often a family affair

Jasmine Harman: “During the school holidays I’ve been able to have my children with me which has been really nice as I wouldn’t want to go away and leave them for long stretches of time. So if they’re not at school then they can come along. After filming I’ll go and give the kids some dinner and put them to bed. They have a holiday while mummy goes out to work.”

There have been some creepy properties featured on the show

Laura Hamilton: “I was once in a house in France and the sound man was like ‘I’ve got bad vibes about this place, it’s haunted’. We didn’t see anything but when someone says that you’re just like ‘oh god, really?’. Nobody saw anything but places like that in the middle of France, you think, well they could be. I wouldn’t want to have been there late at night on my own!”

Things don’t always go to plan (especially when working with animals)

Jasmine Harman: “There was one really bad one where I was milking a cow. It was so bad. The house hunters wanted a farm or a small holding. Anyway, the cow had a dodgy tummy and while I was milking this poor cow it swished its tail and it hit me straight in the face so I had horrible cow poo on my face. That was pretty bad. That was a low (laughs).”

Channel 4
Jasmine Harman

There have been some hairy moments too

Jasmine Harman: “I once vomited inside my helmet when I was filmed on a microlight. That was pretty gross. Honestly, the pilot was like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. He was so handsome. And I was so embarrassed. I get motion sickness and being on this microlight proved too much for me. I couldn’t get the helmet off! It was not a pleasant sight.”

Filming isn’t without its risks

Scarlette Douglas: “We were filming somewhere in Sicily and my Producer Director chose a place to do an opening chat on a beach but what he thought was a beach was actually dried seaweed. So we’re stood on this dried seaweed which doesn’t smell good either, and then he just starts sinking because it was over quicksand!

“So he starts going down and he has the camera, I start laughing and get my phone out to start filming and he’s like ‘someone help me’. So the camera guy manages to get the camera and he’s still just sinking! The camera guy and sound guy had to drag him out and he was just covered all the way up to his chest with dried seaweed and quicksand. I was just there laughing and filming him. I was absolutely cackling along with the house hunters. I bring that up all the time and he’s like ‘do you always have to mention the quicksand?’”