A 45-room chateau and a ‘pregnancy deadline’: Inside the unconventional marriage of Dick and Angel Strawbridge

The couple have documented the renovation of their sprawling French home on Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau since 2016

Tuesday 11 July 2023 11:59 BST

Dick and Angel Strawbridge are the owners of the 19th-century chateau in Martigné-sur-Mayenne, France, which provides the setting for Channel 4’s popular programme Escape to the Chateau.

In 2015, the couple bought the 45-room château for £280,000. They then proceeded to spend seven years renovating the chateau into a wedding venue and dream home, which has been documented in the nine seasons of the TV series beginning in 2016 and ending in December 2022.

Last month, Channel 4 revealed it had cut ties with the Escape to the Chateau stars following reports that the couple had clashed with producers.

“Following a review, we have taken the decision not to work with Dick and Angel on any new productions in the future,” a Channel 4 spokeswoman said.

Two Rivers Media, the company that produces the Escape To The Chateau franchise, also confirmed that they “will no longer work with Dick and Angel and cannot comment further at the moment”.

The couple have now announced that they will be returning to the UK after reportedly closing their French castle business.

All of the chateau’s events are now marked “unavailable”, with the couple telling fans that they are endeavouring to “catch up” after completing their first international theatre and book-signing tour in Australia and New Zealand.

In a new update with fans, the Strawbridges said they were “giddy with excitement” to announce they will return to the UK to celebrate their forthcoming book launch in a few months.

The Independent has contacted the Strawbridges for comment.

The news follows allegations of bullying, and in a 2021 report in The Times, which obtained clips of Angel, 45, calling a producer a “f***ed up little c***”. Find the full transcript of what she said here.

Representatives for the couple at the time denied that they were aggressive or had bullied staff and the couple have vehemently denied the allegations.

As the chateau comes back under the spotlight, we get to know the couple in front of the cameras.

The couple met in 2010 at a party

Who are Dick and Angel Strawbridge?

Angel, 45 – whose real name is Angela – runs a hospitality business called The Vintage Patisserie, which she sought investment for on Dragon’s Den in 2010.

Dick, 63, is an engineer and former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army. Before Escape to the Chateau, he appeared on a number of reality TV shows including, It’s Not Easy Being Green (2006), Coast (2006), Scrapheap Challenge (2009), The Hungry Sailors (2011), Saturday Farm (2011).

In addition, the couple have deals for home fragrances at Sainsbury’s, flowers for Next and a book, titled: A Year at the Chateau. They have just announced their latest book: The Chateau: Forever Home.

Dick generally performs the mechanical and construction elements of the renovation while Angel provides the home’s style and interior design.

The couple have different ventures alongside their chateau, including a book deal and home fragrances

The marriage

Speaking to The Times, Dick explained how he was introduced to Angel at a party in London in 2010.

He explained: “We barely spoke that night, but we knew that there was something at first sight. And we fell in love very quickly.”

Angel told The Telegraph: “Dick was looking quite dapper, and I was there in my vintage Zandra Rhodes dress and my pinny, and I saw him and literally blushed from head to toe.”

“All I could think when I saw her was, “Dare I look her straight in the eyes?” because I was trying not to dribble; she was just so gorgeous,” Dick recalled.

Dick had been previously married to engineer Brigit Weiner for 28 years and has two adult children from the marriage.

In 2020, Angel told Fabulous that their 18-year age gap “didn’t matter” to her and said it was “love at first sight”.

“Age is but a number, and Dick’s always had a really ­wonderful energy and he’s a doer,” she added.

Pregnancy ‘deadline’

Less than two years into their relationship, Angel presented Dick with a calendar with the words “impregnate me by this date” written on it.

She told Fabulous: “It was a little hint!”

The pair have two children, Arthur, 10 and Dorothy, nine.

The couple has previously opened up about “bickering” with Dick’s tendency to “lead”.

“He will say, ‘Hurry up, we’re late for school,’ and I’ll say, ‘Hang on, we’ve got five minutes yet and I’m still doing Dorothy’s hair.’ And he’s like, ‘I told you to hurry up 10 minutes ago.’ It’s just bickering really,” Angel told The Telegraph.

2016: Couple begin to transform 45-room French chateau and star in first series of Escape to the Chateau

The first series of Escape to the Chateau aired in 2016, and viewers have since followed the couple as they transformed their 45-room French chateau that had stood neglected for 40 years into a family home and events business.

December 2022: Escape to the Chateau ends

Escape to the Chateau came to an end in December 2022, after nine seasons, with the couple saying they believed the show was going “out on a high”. They said in a statement last month: “It was a Strawbridge Family decision early last year to conclude Escape To The Chateau.

June 2023: Couple dropped from Channel 4 and close the chateau

Deadline first reported that Channel 4 had ended its relationship with the Strawbridges earlier this month. According to the article, an independent HR investigation was ordered by Channel 4 after Two Rivers Media, the company that produces the Escape To The Chateau franchise, raised concerns about the couple.

“Following a review, we have taken the decision not to work with Dick and Angel on any new productions in the future,” a Channel 4 spokeswoman said.

The outlet then obtained a foul-mouthed audio recording, in which Angel can be heard calling a producer a “f***ed up little c***”.

It has now been reported that the couple have applied to close their castle company Chateau-de-la-Motte Husson Limited.

MailOnline claims that the application to Companies House was signed on 9 May, with the company allegedly set to be dissolved within the next six weeks.

All of the chateau’s events are now marked “unavailable”, with weddings no longer able to take place there.

Responding to reports that they had been dropped from the broadcaster, the couple confirmed they had been dropped but said that there are “two sides two every story” and that they remain “proud” of the show.

Dick and Angel Strawbridge vow to ‘set record straight’ on tour

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “Channel 4 is taking an active role in challenging unacceptable behaviour in our industry. Following a review of our processes in 2021 we have made it easier to raise complaints both formally and informally.

“We require all our production partners to follow our Supplier Code of Conduct and when concerns are raised with us, they will be taken seriously and action will happen to ensure they are investigated and addressed appropriately. There is always more to do and alongside our suppliers we are committed to building safe, inclusive and professional working environments.”

On Thursday (8 June), the pair announced a UK tour despite the news.

They wrote on Instagram: “It’s been nearly a year in the planning and we simply could not wait to tell you that we are hitting the road for our biggest ever theatre tour!”

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