Christmas at… Castle Howard, review: Get out your tiny violins for cash-strapped palaces

Oh, it’s tough living in a castle. Members of the aristocracy have been making it known over the past few years how expensive the upkeep is on their ancestral piles, perhaps hoping to humanise themselves (and score some cash to fix the roof).

And to some extent, they have a point. Like it or not, these buildings form part of the UK’s history, and help to lure in tourists – it’s not in anyone’s interests to let them fall to ruin.

Still, it can be hard to muster a tiny violin for people who collectively own around a third of the land in England.

Christmas at… is a new Channel 4 series about the festive preparations at three stately homes, which often make a large chunk of their visitor revenue over the festive period.

It has an undercurrent of panic as earls and barons wonder if they will make enough to fund restoration work. The beleaguered building on show last night was Castle Howard, the “real Bridgerton” of Netflix’s raunchy period drama, and Brideshead twice on film and TV.

The resident gentry, Victoria and the Hon Nicholas (though he goes by Nick) Howard, were perfectly nice and had a genuine affection for their 100-room pad, talking with concern about the £50m restoration deficit they were facing.