Alex Polizzi is back as ‘The Hotel Inspector’

Thursday: The Hotel Inspector; (Channel 5, 9pm)

Alex Polizzi isn’t the kind of woman who suffers fools; nor is she the kind who’ll put up with any nonsense from people struggling to run their businesses successfully.

So, if you’re the sensitive kind, look away when she appears on telly – Alex is ruthless!

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She was also, it seems, born to take on the role of The Hotel Inspector.

Born into a family of hoteliers – her maternal grandfather was Lord Forte, founder of the Forte Group – she read English at Oxford before working at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.

These days she manages Hotel Endsleigh in Milton Abbot near Tavistock in Devon, a grade I listed property owned by her mother Olga.

In 2008 Alex began working for Channel 5 when she took over from Ruth Watson, The Hotel Inspector’s original host.

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Now she’s back on our screens for its 16th series, and as ever, it seems that those featured have never watched the programme before – if they had, and taken in her tips and advice, they wouldn’t need her help.

However, she has no say in where she gets to spread her wisdom: “I don’t decide which businesses to take on, but I do have certain criteria,” explains Alex.

“I’ve found what works best is if we take on businesses that can still be viable.

“If it’s already bankrupt, and if there’s no money in the bank and the creditors are banging on the door, then I’ve got very little leeway in anything.”

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She’s had a long career on the box, despite never expecting to become a familiar face beamed into homes on a weekly basis.

“If you’d said to me 13 years ago, ‘you’re going to be in telly’, I’d have laughed at you. I was running hotels quite happily.

“But I think the reality is, you can’t be a part-time hotel manager.

“I worked every Christmas, I worked every weekend, and I don’t want to do that and have children.

“I had to stop doing that for that reason.

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“And I have lots of dream projects. I could do a lot more crusading about certain things, but I just feel incredibly lucky that I get to do a job that I love and that fits in with my primary commitment, which is as a mum.”

The latest run begins not too far from Alex’s home patch.

She travels to the Coach and Horses in Dorset which, as it’s the only pub in the village, should be thriving.

However, owners James and Yvonne are mostly confronted by a largely empty bar, while bookings for its eight rooms are thin on the ground.

On her arrival, Alex soon identifies the problem, but it’s a highly sensitive one and broaching the subject isn’t going to be easy.

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Eventually she adopts a ‘cruel to be kind’ approach while offering her expert opinion.

Finally, five months on, as the lockdown hits the industry hard, she finds out if the business has improved enough to survive or what does the future hold?

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