Every year, 40 million people flood into Las Vegas and offload $35 billion. In their latest two-part adventure, Eamonn & Ruth join them to investigate the outrageous lifestyles of the super-rich whom the city attracts.
First, our lucky couple check into the Palms Casino, a resort that attracts Hollywood A-listers with outrageous themed apartments like the ‘Hardwood Suite’, which is ten times the size of the average UK house, has its own basketball court, and costs a staggering $25,000 per night.
If Las Vegas is Disneyland for adults, it is the casinos that provide the most thrilling rides and make the most money. Four out of the five richest people in Sin City are casino moguls, and Eamonn and Ruth meet up with one of the most outspoken, Derek Stephens.
Derek is transforming downtown Vegas into a Mecca for young partygoers. His latest project is a new billion-dollar resort, where Eamonn and Ruth go for a flutter. They lose, but discover that much of the appeal for high rollers is Sin City’s ‘comping’ system, where all manner of freebies are lavished upon guests if they spend enough.
Servicing big spenders has made locals like Brad and Kimberly Friedmutter very wealthy indeed. Architect Brad designed the Cosmopolitan Hotel, while Kimberly is a celebrity hypnotherapist. They live in an opulent villa in one of Vegas’ prestigious gated communities, and they take our pampered pair shopping at Michael Jackson’s favourite boutique.
For entertainers, a Vegas residency is one of the most lucrative gigs on the planet. Penn & Teller have made over $300m, so Eamonn and Ruth meet Penn Jillette to discover the joys of conjuring cash out of thin air.
Finally, it’s time to witness the fastest way to blow $250,000—that’s what it costs to have the famous Bellagio fountain dance to your choice of music. Eamonn and Ruth go for it, and it’s the experience of a lifetime.
Then, after discovering that the city is so geared up for drunken debauchery you can even get an intravenous detox drip to fix your hangover, our pampered pair visit the Heart Attack Grill, which serves the most calorific burgers in the world.
Most excess, however, takes place behind closed doors in Sin City’s luxury resorts. Eamonn and Ruth sneak into the Wynn Hotel’s most lavish duplex suite to investigate why Prince Harry chose it for his wild Vegas weekender.
No Vegas personality epitomises over-indulgence more than Elvis Presley. He is still celebrated throughout the city, especially by Tempest Storm, a 90-year-old burlesque dancer who dated him in her youth. Eamonn and Ruth meet her to pay homage to the King of Rock n Roll.
Vegas’ legendary reputation as a den of iniquity stems from its liberal laws – in particular Nevada’s legalisation of gambling in 1931. The mafia took full advantage and built casinos, but who keeps a lid on all the dubious activity? Eamonn and Ruth share a drink with Carolyn and Oscar Goodman, the city’s mayor and former mayor, and hear the couple’s outspoken views on morality and money.
The mob may be long gone, but today Vegas has more than 100 casinos. Eamonn and Ruth succumb to temptation and hit the card tables. Their guide is Don Johnson – no, not that one, but the one that broke the house with one epic $15 million winning streak. He teaches them blackjack, but try as they do, they don’t come anywhere matching Don’s phenomenal success.
Before leaving Las Vegas, Eamonn and Ruth decide to go to church, not to repent for their sins, but to witness a Sin City marriage – a noisy affair that’s like getting hitched on the M1.
Rob uncovers the extraordinary story behind what was once the longest passenger ship in the world – the SS Great Britain. Designed by Victorian engineering genius, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this vast vessel rewrote the ship-building rulebook, pioneering innovations still found on almost all modern ships.
Rob learns how the origins of the SS Great Britain lay in Brunel’s off-the-cuff boast to extend his famous Great Western Railway ‘from Bristol to New York’. Yet the renowned inventor soon had his work cut out to convince both the public and his financial backers that his revolutionary combination of an iron hull and a screw propeller would work. Climbing to the very top her rigging, Rob learns how the ship’s early years were plagued by disaster – from running aground on the coast of Ireland, to nearly capsizing in a violent storm.
The Great Britain finally met with success thanks to the Australian gold rush – today, 250,000 Australians can trace their direct ancestors to passengers on Brunel’s legendary steam ship. From the gilded grandeur of the first-class dining room, to the cramped bunks of the third class sleeping quarters, Rob discovers what life was like on board for the thousands who set sail on this record-breaking ship.
After years of service, however, the Great Britain was abandoned off the coast of the Falkland Islands. Rob discovers that it wasn’t until 1970 that she underwent an astonishing resurrection - towed back to Bristol on a giant raft, where she was finally restored to her former glory.
Michelle Ackerley whisks a pair of property buyers off to the seaside to help them realise their fantasy of moving to a home on the UK coast. She takes them on a tour of four tantalising properties in their chosen hot spot, but does the reality match the fantasy?
In each location, Michelle indulges our dreams of living like a millionaire as she takes us around an incredible property worth in excess of a million pounds, which is surprisingly affordable for a short stay if the treat is shared with a group of friends. And on the other side of the coin, she hunts down three fantasy properties on a shoestring budget that could also yield an income when rented out.
Episode 16 – Monday 10th December
Wirral born and bred, Maureen has lived in rural Yorkshire for the past 20 years. With a huge extended family back in Merseyside, Maureen feels like she’s missing out and has decided it’s time to make the move home. But after searching for 2 years and looking at almost 50 properties she’s yet to find her fantasy home. With a budget of £600,000 she wants a period coastal property with plenty of space for entertaining family and a large. Helping with the search is sister Pauline who thinks Maureen has been too fussy in the search so far. Will she be able to help her compromise and finally make the move?
Episode 17 – Tuesday 11th December
Graphic designer Emma and PR consultant Jason currently live and work in their North London home. After raising their family in the big smoke they feel it’s time for a complete lifestyle change for themselves and their two teenage boys. They’ve set their sights on the attractive Kent coastal town of Deal. It’s got a thriving creative community for designer Emma and fast train links to the capital for Jason. With a budget of up to £800,000 they are looking for a family home close to the sea with work space for the two of them. They want peace and tranquillity but also want local amenities and a train station on their doorstep. Can Michelle find a fantasy home that meets all of their needs?
Episode 18 – Wednesday 12th December
Kathy and Steve currently run a very successful b and b in land locked Malvern but have always dreamt of living by the sea. They’ve loved building their business but it’s very hard work and their dream of coastal living still burns bright so they’ve decided to sell up and go for it. They’ve decided to scale down the business side of things and have their sights set on the East Sussex coast. With a budget of up to £650,000 they’re looking for a seaside home with potential for a small holiday let on the side.
Episode 19 – Thursday 13th December
After decades of being tied to the Midlands for work David and Janet have decided to take the plunge and fulfil a lifelong dream of living on the Dorset coast. With £625,000 to spend they want a completely fresh start in an uber modern seaside pad with high spec appliances and all brand new furniture.
Episode 20 – Friday 14th December
David and Samantha both have extremely busy lives and careers in Newcastle and whenever they can they escape to the peace of the Northumberland coast. They love holidaying there all year round and have even enjoyed a Christmas day BBQ on the beach. They’ve decided it’s time to invest in their own coastal home from home that they and their 3 grown up boys can use whenever they want. With a budget of £400,000 they want somewhere the whole family can enjoy but also somewhere with rental potential when they are not using it.
Tuesday 11th December, S11, Episode 16 of 21
It’s MasterChef: The Professionals Semi Finals Week and the competition is sizzling with fresh new talent. MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace teams up with chef Monica Galetti and Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing to continue their search for this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals Champion.
Tonight, the remaining eight chefs face a double-headed beast of a challenge in the MasterChef kitchen. It’s do or die as they stake their claim to the competition and the opportunity to cook in some of the most influential and unique kitchens in the UK.
The first challenge the eight chefs face tonight is cooking against each other to create a dish inspired by a poignant Food Memory. This dish must evoke for the judges the flavour and sense of occasion that ignited the chefs’ passion for food. From fruit picking to a first taste of fine dining, the chefs need to dig deep for inspiration, cook up a storm in an hour and 45 minutes, and in turn inspire the judges to send them straight through to the next round.
The remaining chefs must return to fight again in the MasterChef kitchen to secure one of the remaining four places in the next round. They face an Invention Test where they are tasked with creating one unique and flawless dish. The twist for the chefs is that for those that cooked savory in the first round they now cook sweet and vice versa. With this plate of food, the judges’ expectations are high, so it’s imperative that the chefs' ingenuity and skill shine through or they will forfeit their place in the next Semi Final challenge. After this hard-fought battle, two chefs will be asked to leave the competition.
The six who remain will continue on their path in pursuit of the MasterChef: The Professionals title 2018.
Judge: Marcus Wareing
Judge: Monica Galetti
Judge: Gregg Wallace
Wednesday 12th December, S11, Episode 17 of 21
It’s MasterChef: The Professionals Semi Finals Week and the competition is on a knife edge. MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace teams up with chef Monica Galetti and Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing to continue their search for this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals Champion.
Tonight the first three remaining Semi-Finalists battle it out for a place in Finals Week. They are sent to work alongside one of the countries’ leading chefs – Michael Caines. Caines is creating a new food legacy in his own Country House Hotel and Restaurant in Exmouth – Lympstone Manor. Having held two Michelin Stars at Gidleigh Park for 18 years, Caines embarked on his own venture in 2017, a culmination of his lifelong dream to create and shape his own vision for generations to come. Lympstone Manor draws on inspiration from the beautiful Exe Estuary that it overlooks and the surrounding countryside. The exceptional food that Caines is creating at Lympstone Manor won a Michelin Star within the first six months of opening. The chance for the Semi-Finalists to cook alongside Caines as he makes history is a huge privilege and one that will place them in an extraordinary position to supercharge their culinary skills.
The first eye opener for the chefs is to see Michael cook one of his signature dishes - ‘Lobster Fricassee with a Lobster Bisque and Summer Vegetables’. Understanding the intricacy and inspiration for the dish is key as Michael turns the tables and throws down the gauntlet for the chefs, he wants them to create their version of his dish for him to taste. Michael is looking for evidence of their ability to balance flavour, create textural variation and cook impeccably.
Once the chefs have shown that they have the culinary mastery to take a place in his kitchen they are each shown a further dish that Michael has on his menu. The chefs will join Michael’s elite brigade and each take responsibility for a dish to be served during a packed service in his prestigious Michelin starred restaurant. The chefs face the toughest challenge of their careers, cooking at this level under the watchful gaze of Michael Caines – only perfection will pass the test.
Next, the inspired chefs return to the MasterChef kitchen where they face the challenge of cooking their own dishes for a two-course menu which Marcus, Monica and Gregg will taste. The judges expect their food to have reached new heights. The chefs must aim for the skies, as at this stage in the competition, one tiny slip can mean the difference between gaining a place in Finals Week or going home - only perfection will do to edge closer to the MasterChef: The Professionals title 2018.
Judges: Monica Galetti
Judge: Marcus Wareing
Judge: Gregg Wallace
Thursday 13th December, S11, Episode 18 of 21
It’s MasterChef: The Professionals Semi Finals Week and the competition is heating up. MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace teams up with chef Monica Galetti and Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing to continue their search for this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals Champion.
It’s the last Semi Final and the three remaining chefs are in close competition for a place in Finals Week. For their first challenge, they’re sent to cook at an exclusive address in Padstow, Cornwall – Paul Ainsworth at No 6. Chef Paul Ainsworth honed his skills with culinary legends Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing before striking out on his own in Cornwall. With his unique inimitable style of combining playful creativity with bold, beautiful and perfectly balanced flavours Paul won a Michelin star and he is now considered one of the greatest chefs in Britain in his own right. The chefs will have the enviable opportunity to learn from Ainsworth himself and cook alongside his elite brigade.
The first step for the chefs is to understand the inspiration and elegance of Paul’s food when he gives them a masterclass and demonstrates his ‘Barbecued Cornish Duck with Peking Tea and a Pick Your Own Salad’. Buoyed on by the insight and energy that Paul imparts, the chefs are challenged to create their version of his duck dish for him to taste. Paul needs reassurance that the chefs before him have understood his philosophy and can emulate his impeccable cookery; he’s looking for outstanding skill, personality and the perfect palate from the three chefs.
Once the chefs have shown that they have the culinary mastery to take a place in his kitchen they are each shown a dish from Paul’s menu. The chefs will join Paul’s dedicated brigade and take responsibility for one dish each to be served during a packed service in his prestigious Michelin starred restaurant. The chefs face the toughest challenge of their careers, the orders come thick and fast and the dishes will only be served once Paul is satisfied they are perfect.
Finally, the chefs return to the MasterChef kitchen to cook against each other in a race for the Finals - creating a two-course menu to be judged by Monica, Marcus and Gregg. They must create their best main and dessert of the competition so far, as nothing short of perfection will help them now. The dishes they deliver to the judges will either secure them a place in Finals Week or see them sent home.
Only the two strongest chefs will make it into Finals Week, taking them one step closer to the title of MasterChef: The Professionals Champion 2018.
Judge – Monica Galetti
Judge – Marcus Wareing
Judge – Gregg Wallace
This week on Tattoo Fixers: Extreme, Pash performs some pest control on Martyn’s randy rodent, Sketch sees to Holli’s belly-button buddy and the Fixers get star-struck when they’re visited by magician Paul Daniels’ son, Gary. Elsewhere, Alice helps Shonna with an erroneous etching that was supposed to be a touching tattoo dedicated to her mother, Pash performs a clean-up for pole-dancer Joe and Sketch banishes Poppy’s outrageously hedonistic grim reaper back to the land of the dead.