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Hotel Babylon is a witty, clever, and utterly addictive 2006 British television series launched in the States via BBC America in 2007. The formula is fool proof: assemble a hotel staff of strongly drawn characters, each with a secret past; add dashes of sexual tension, avarice, silliness and whimsy; then, in each episode fold in a parade of hotel guests, everyone arriving with their own baggage of deceit, pathos, and lunacy. The result is a comedy that has dark dramatic undertones, and a drama that breaks into giggles when the tension reaches a breaking point. The action centers around Charlie (Max Beesley), the deputy general manager with a murky past, as he adjusts to his new status in one of London's swankiest hotels. The rest of the staff (many it seems have either shagged him or want to) make his job a challenge, but ultimately pull together to solve the myriad of crises brought on them daily by the guests, who are all played by major stars themselves. (Anthony Stewart Head as the suicidal jingle writer will have you falling off your sofa choking with laughter; Joan Collins as the aging noblewoman will leave you wistful). As the series progresses, the viewer comes to feel sisterly sympathy for the sluttishly obsequious receptionist Anna (Emma Pierson), and certain conspiracy with the barmaster Gino (Martin Marquez).

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WA35805 Hotel Babylon Season 1 DVD (2006/Tamzin Outhwaite) $39.95 $35.99