To have your hopes and fears – your laughter and tears – captured on TV cameras over the course of 12 months is both an honour and a risk.
Nevertheless, we were delighted to be invited to take part in series 6 of Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun. The popular reality show aired in January and February 2021.
We’re Damon Biddlecombe and Graham Welch (Damon’s the one with the beard). We set up a cheese and wine bar and B&B in Belvès, in Dordogne.
If you’re based in the UK, you can watch us on the Channel 4 website – we appeared in episodes 21 to 25 of series 6. You’ll see us transform an old haberdashery into a bar/restaurant with guest rooms above.
We were also lucky enough to be invited to appear in the follow-up, A New Life in the Sun: Where Are They Now?, which was broadcast in February 2022.
Without spoiling the surprise, it follows our efforts to expand the business… You’ll also see an exhibition of sculptures from Zimbabwe, courtesy of Terre Sauvage, and of paintings by local artist Naz Hussey.
Our first day of filming took place in September 2019. At that time, we’d just bought the property and were clearing it out and deciding what work was needed.
The cameras followed our progress over a year. Iris and John were our most regular camera people and they became like part of the family – in fact, we’re still in touch.
We had some ups and downs along the way and learned some important lessons. Above all, we made some great friends here in Belvès.
We opened the bar at the end of July 2020 and it quickly became a popular venue with locals and tourists alike. Our customers say they value our passion for high-quality cheeses, cold meats and wines.
We hope you enjoy our story on A New Life in the Sun. If you’re thinking about following in our footsteps and building a new life for yourself abroad, our advice would definitely be to go for it.
In the meantime, if ever you’re in Dordogne, please pop in for a glass of wine and a platter of cheese and charcuterie – or maybe book one of our rooms for a night or two.
À bientôt, we hope.