A 45-room mansion and a ‘pregnancy deadline’: Inside the unconventional marriage of Dick and Angel Strawbridge

Dick and Angel Strawbridge are the owners of the 19th-century chateau in Martigné-sur-Mayenne, France, which provides the setting for Channel 4’s popular programme Escape to the Chateau.

In 2015, the couple bought the 45-room château for £280,000. They then proceeded to spend seven years renovating the chateau into a wedding venue and dream home, which has been documented in the nine seasons of the TV series beginning in 2016 and ending in December 2022.

This week, Channel 4 revealed it has cut ties with the Escape to the Chateau stars following reports that the couple had clashed with producers.

“Following a review, we have taken the decision not to work with Dick and Angel on any new productions in the future,” a Channel 4 spokeswoman said.

Two Rivers Media, the company that produces the Escape To The Chateau franchise, also confirmed that they “will no longer work with Dick and Angel and cannot comment further at the moment”.

The Independent has contacted Dick and Angel’s company Chateau TV for comment.

The news follows allegations of bullying, and in a 2021 report in The Times, which obtained clips of Angel, 45, calling a producer a “f***ing c***”.

Another hears Dick, 63, telling a producer “f*** you”. Sources from the show’s previous production company, Spark Media, accused the couple of bullying and said they made working on the programme an “anxiety-inducing ordeal”.

Representatives for the couple at the time denied that they were aggressive or had bullied staff and the couple have vehemently denied the allegations.

As the chateau comes back under the spotlight, we get to know the couple in front of the cameras.

The couple met in 2010 at a party (@the_chateau_tv/instagram)
The couple met in 2010 at a party (@the_chateau_tv/instagram)

Who are Dick and Angel Strawbridge?

Angel, 45 – whose real name is Angela – runs a hospitality business called The Vintage Patisserie, which she sought investment for on Dragon’s Den in 2010.

Dick, 63, is an engineer and former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army. Before Escape to the Chateau, he appeared on a number of reality TV shows including, It’s Not Easy Being Green (2006), Coast (2006), Scrapheap Challenge (2009), The Hungry Sailors (2011), Saturday Farm (2011).

In addition, the couple have deals for home fragrances at Sainsbury’s, flowers for Next and a book, titled: A Year at the Chateau. They have just announced their latest book: The Chateau: Forever Home.

Dick generally performs the mechanical and construction elements of the renovation while Angel provides the home’s style and interior design.

The couple have different ventures alongside their chateau, including a book deal and home fragrances (ITV)
The couple have different ventures alongside their chateau, including a book deal and home fragrances (ITV)

The marriage

Speaking to The Times, Dick explained how he was introduced to Angel at a party in London in 2010.

He explained: “We barely spoke that night, but we knew that there was something at first sight. And we fell in love very quickly.”

Angel told The Telegraph: “Dick was looking quite dapper, and I was there in my vintage Zandra Rhodes dress and my pinny, and I saw him and literally blushed from head to toe.”

“All I could think when I saw her was, “Dare I look her straight in the eyes?” because I was trying not to dribble; she was just so gorgeous,” Dick recalled.

Dick had been previously married to engineer Brigit Weiner for 28 years and has two adult children from the marriage.

In 2020, Angel told Fabulous that their 18-year age gap “didn’t matter” to her and said it was “love at first sight”.

“Age is but a number, and Dick’s always had a really ­wonderful energy and he’s a doer,” she added.

Pregnancy ‘deadline’

Less than two years into their relationship, Angel presented Dick with a calendar with the words “impregnate me by this date” written on it.

She told Fabulous: “It was a little hint!”

The pair have two children, Arthur, 10 and Dorothy, nine.

The couple has previously opened up about “bickering” with Dick’s tendency to “lead”.

“He will say, ‘Hurry up, we’re late for school,’ and I’ll say, ‘Hang on, we’ve got five minutes yet and I’m still doing Dorothy’s hair.’ And he’s like, ‘I told you to hurry up 10 minutes ago.’ It’s just bickering really,” Angel told The Telegraph.