The first program joins the 12th Duke and Duchess as the house is being prepared to open to the public. It is the busiest time of the year for the house staff and everyone has a role to play including the Duke and Duchess as they join the annual litter clean up around the estate. The youngest and very first female head guide, Heather Redmond, is on "probation;" if she gets the job she will be in charge of the 60 guides - some of whom have worked at Chatsworth since before she was born. Chatsworth's award-winning farm shop is presided over by manager Andre Birkett who has worked for the family for more than 30 years, starting in the kitchens of the house. He is now responsible for 120 staff and an annual turnover of more than 5 million pounds. As winter turns in to spring, it is lambing season on the estate's 62 farms, and farm manager Ian Turner, who has 32 years of service, takes us on a tour. [58 minutes]
Series Description: CHATSWORTH HOUSE is an engaging three-part series that provides an access-all-areas experience inside one of Britain's most majestic stately homes. What is life like today for the 12th Duke of Devonshire who inherited the estate which has been in his family for 450 years? What really transpires behind closed doors? What is life like for the staff of 700 who work on the premises? With all the characters you'd expect to find in a great house, like the head housekeeper who maintains the 300 rooms, and the gamekeepers whose pheasants end up on the dining table, CHATSWORTH HOUSE is a fascinating look at class and tradition in a modern world that plays out like a real-life Downton Abbey.
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These episodes of Chatsworth House aired in the last few months on Iowa Public Television.