A MULTI-millionaire has revealed what it's really like filming Rich House Poor House, including how he snuck a Harrods hamper in and it got confiscated.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 50, who is worth nearly £200m, appeared in the first epsiode of the latest season and swapped lives for a week with struggling single mum Ocean.
While he took his fiance Scott and kids to stay in her council estate flat and live off £57 for the week, Ocean got to experience life at the other end of the spectrum in one of Barrie’s seven luxury mansions.
Speaking to Fabulous, Barrie said producers approached him about appearing on Channel 5’s Rich House Poor House and it wasn’t his idea.
The businessman, who gave up his maids, chef and yacht for the week to be on the show, revealed: “We actually didn’t apply.
"The show contacted us and asked us if we would be interested in doing it.
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“I was not keen at first to be honest with you.
"I thought ‘hell no, I’ve lived that s***y council house life and I never want to live it again'.”
Barrie eventually came round, and brought Scott, 28, his daughter Valentina, two, baby Romeo and daughter Saffron as he thought it “might be nice” for them to see how the other half live.
Barrie knew he would have to swap budgets with Ocean for the week and admitted he snuck in food so he wouldn’t be hungry.
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The dad-of-eight, who is used to £20,000 meals out, admitted: “I tried to sneak in food but the production company checked my case and took out the Super Noodles and Harrods hamper I had sneaked in a case.
“I thought we would be able to get away with all sorts but they had a production crew with us 24 hours a day.
“We were given £57 total, it was a struggle.
“How on earth does anyone survive on £57? Especially with a kid and household bills.”
Barrie said they had no say in where they ended up or who they ended up swapping lives with and they have film crew with them at all points so you can’t spend over budget.
I thought we would be able to get away with all sorts but they had a production crew with us 24 hours a day.
He added: “Everything is so secretive, you are not allowed to know where you're going, budget, the family, anything, as they want everything to have shock value on camera.”
Barrie, who made history with ex-partner Tony for being Britain’s first gay dads, handed over his £6 million Essex mansion and chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to Ocean for the TV experience.
In exchange, he headed to nearby Braintree to stay in barmaid Ocean’s tiny two-bedroom council flat, where she lives with eight-year-old daughter Oziana.
The filming was split over five nights and six days, and there were moments when he wanted to crack and take his family to a hotel.
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He said: “The flat was ok to live in, it was clean and tidy so comfortable enough, however, the people upstairs were fighting and arguing for hours.
“They played rap music for hours and hours into the night.
“At one point I heard them screaming at each other and then a thump on the floor and then nothing, I thought one of them had killed the other.
“That was the first night, it was like a nightmare.
“I told the production company the next day that if it carried on, I would move with the kids to a hotel but the following night we heard nothing from the flat.”
Barrie ended up staying every night in the flat during the experience, and commented on how surprised Saffron was that the entire home was the size of her walk-in wardrobe.
While Barrie had to live off Ocean’s £57 budget, he had a debate with producers over what sum he could give in exchange as his “typical weekly spend.”
He said: “As a rule, we don’t have a budget, we just buy what we want.
“The show producers wanted us to give a maximum of £2,000, which is, they said, the maximum that anyone normally gives.
“I said that I would not do the show unless I could give a more realistic amount and even though it could not be the amount we normally spend, I wanted it to be at the very least £5,000.
“This way, it could be somewhat more realistic to what I thought they would have a great time on and I wanted to allow the new family to enjoy my house.
“They told me later that they had never been given a budget of £5,000 before.”
Another “first” for the show was the very generous gifts that Barrie gave Ocean at the end of the experience.
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TV viewers were left in tears when Ocean was given a staggering £250,000 investment from a multimillionaire.
As well as decorating her home and getting her a new bed, he also offered to pay for Ocean and her friend to fly out to Florida, which was a bucket list trip destination for her.
Ocean said to Fabulous: “This wasn’t just a wad of cash for me to fritter away, this was an opportunity to completely change my future and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Speaking about his Rich House Poor House experience, Barrie concluded: “It was tense on some days, but I really enjoyed working with the team we were assigned.
“In all it was a super good experience, I would do it again for sure.”
But did the experience change him?
Barrie added: “This experience did not change me in the slightest.
“It made me realise why I work 18 hours a day and why it's important to maintain a healthy mind and body to work hard for your family.
“But I did love the experience, it was surreal to be back in a council house and watching every penny.
“I missed my shower and my bed, my coffee machine and my chef.
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Barrie Drewitt-Barlow appeared on Rich House Poor House, which airs at 9pm Sunday on Channel 5, and you can see his episode on catch-up
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