Sarah Beeny’s Rise Hall Christmas
In 2001, Sarah Beeny and her husband Graham Swift bought the Grade II listed Rise Hall in Yorkshire for £435,000. They set about renovating the 97-room stately home, starting with the leaking roof. It was a mammoth task, with multiple horrendous setbacks, which made riveting television over two series, Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare. It’s a miracle that they managed it, with four children, and remained married, and sane. In this Christmas special, the family traces the history of the festive season and recreates the style of past celebrations Rise Hall would have hosted going back to 1773, when the original house was built. (The estate itself dates from 1066 and rates a mention in the Domesday Book.) The family explores the origins of traditional Christmas customs from the Christmas tree, turkey and mince pies to crackers, sending cards and exchanging gifts. Traditions that are familiar to us today evolved through time — from the party-loving Georgians and family conscious Victorians to the “make-do” years during the two world wars and the largesse of today. Although she dresses in period costume here, usually Beeny doesn’t much care for appearances, which makes her both likable and real. She also knows what she’s talking about when it comes to real estate. And Rise Hall, all dressed up for Christmas and cloaked in snow, has never looked better.