The time we photographed Duncan Bannatyne's French Villa for the BBC ......


Hello Folks

Regular readers might have picked up that as well as setting up Nat Cal, a big part of my work over the last 12 years has been shooting homes with Ashley for the major National interior publications.

I was taking a little trip down memory lane and recalling some of the fantastic road trips we did all over Europe - one of my all time favourites was when we worked on several homes in Umbria .....  we were based in the gorgeous little town of Amelia where the local Polizia wanted to clear the town of traffic for us .... I had fun reassuring him that we actually loved the little old Fiats pootling along ..... he was totally bemused :)

Moi with a guy called Michael we met out there who simply wanted to tag along with us for the fun of it .... I promise I'll dig out some of the stunning Italian homes we shot on that trip and share these with you.

Anyways, as the title suggests, this one is about Duncan Bannatyne's home in Cannes - he of the Dragon's Den. The Editor of BBC Good Homes commissioned us to shoot it a few years ago.

So there we arrived after a long drive through France - introductions were made and off we trundled for a meal on the sea front in Cannes - I know ..... its a tough old job but someone has to do it :) As well as Duncan, his PR was there as was the BBC Editor. Duncan very kindly offered to put us all up in his villa.

The villa itself was a large 70's home - and by Duncan's own admission, interior styling wasn't high on his agenda - it was a place where all his kids and friends could totally relax and chill. And I fully respected him for that.

None the less, it was made very clear that we had to produce beautiful images that were 'magazine worthy'  .... shifting furniture, re-arranging it all, adding cushions, throws, flowers etc ... all the stuff we do when shooting homes to make them look as good as possible for the camera. Adding that all important ambience and sense of lifestyle !!

Thankfully it all came together very well and "zee man" was happy to pose for the "person shot" ......


..... setting up the outdoor seating area - with Duncan possibly clinching a big money spinning deal ??? .....

....... everyone really got into it - we all wanted the images to look as good as possible ..... (we always shoot to a lap top btw)


..... and at the end of a verrrrry long day, we took a group shot for posterity .... that's Ashley on the right ...


Duncan, Rob (his PR) and Rachel (the BBC Editor) were keen to hit the town to celebrate what had been a great shoot - but Ashley and I were totally wiped out by that stage - and also I had done the interview with Duncan and needed to agree the gist of the write up with them all ....... so we asked could we leave them to it ... moreover we had another big shoot the very next day further along the coast ..... it was "all go" - in the nicest way possible !! 

Anyways ...... when I watch Dragons Den, I often recall the next bit .....

Duncan totally understood that we were exhausted and before they all headed out, he very kindly insisted on rummaging in the freezer to see if there was anything Ashley and I could eat ....... after a while, he proudly unearthed some Alphabet Spagetti and fish fingers (his kids choice no doubt) ..... and then he produced an ice cold bottle of very fine "pink wine" and insisted I run a bath in the master en-suite with views over Cannes ..... soooooo as I relaxed in my bath, gazing out over the sweep of Cannes bay, sipping my glass of wine, I thought to myself ...... it's nice work if you can get it :)

Over and Out

Marie x