A strapped-for-cash family’s unorthodox way of cooking Christmas dinner left a wealthy 18-year-old gobsmacked when she stayed with them for a weekend.
April, 18, from Buckinghamshire, lives with her parents in a £9million, seven-bedroom and 10-bathroom mansion, which boasts three Christmas trees, a cinema, gym, sauna, bar, personal lift and a bowling alley.
But the teenager – who has visited six countries so far this year – ditched her glamorous lifestyle to experience a festive weekend with the Burke family, of Merseyside, for Channel 5’s Rich Kids, Skint Christmas, which airs tonight.
The Burkes – made up of mother Lindsay, father Alan and children Clayton, 16, Wyatt, 11, and four-year-old Trinity – have to get by on just £160 a week – so only have £15 to spare to fund their Christmas dinner.
Swapping turkey for chicken is one of the ways they save money, and the family also fry their meal to save on electricity bills, as a large oven often uses more energy.
April (pictured left), 18, from Buckinghamshire, lives with her parents in a £9million, seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom mansion. But the teenager ditched her glamorous lifestyle to experience a weekend with the skint Burke family (pictured right)
The Burke family have to get buy on just £160 a week and so have only £15 to spare on their Christmas dinner. They save money by using a fryer. Pictured: Alan Burke and April bring out the family’s festive meal
Upon discovering that her whole festive meal would be fried, a shocked April admitted: ‘We’ve never had a fried Christmas dinner before. I don’t think there’s anything actually in our Christmas dinner that is fried.’
Alan explained: ‘They’re good for the roast potatoes and that, as if you put them in the oven they take quite a long time and electric, so cost a fortune.
‘You want to invest in a fryer, it’s easier,’ he insisted, after the teenager revealed that she only usually uses a frying pan to fry food.
After delivering the fried meal she helped make, April said: ‘I don’t think I’ll be putting a deep fat fryer on my Christmas list; I mean, the chips were nice, but I’m not a fan of like, really fried food.’
Thanks to her father selling his extremely successful IT business, April has five wardrobes filled with designer clothes at home, including £400 trainers and £500 heels, plus a luxury Cartier watch similar to one warn by Meghan Markle.
The Burke family pictured enjoying their Christmas meal with April. She was challenged by them to buy the ingredients for £15 and came back with 49p change
April seen at her parents’ home as she wraps up luxury Christmas presents for her family members
This is just one of three Christmas trees dotted around April’s family’s stunning Buckinghamshire home
Her family’s Christmas involves no set budget and they usually spend between £5,000 to £10,000 – with April, who started her own clothing company with her father’s help, admitting: ‘It’s only once a year so you have to go all out.’
But for the Burke family, everything has to be in budget, with the family taking out a £800 loan to cover the cost of the holidays – which they pay back monthly using their child benefits.
Alan was a successful children’s entertainer, earning around £800 a week, before several strokes and a throat condition forced him to leave his job.
Lindsay also had to quit her catering career to provide full-time care to her husband and their three children.
The Burke family, pictured pulling crackers with April, were forced to go on benefits after Alan suffered several strokes, which ruined his career
Their rent is paid and the family are given £160 a week, which after the cost of food leaves them with just £10 spare. Pictured: Lindsay with April
Their rent is paid and the family are given £160 a week, which after the cost of food leaves them with just £15 spare.
The Burke’s struggle is shown to April early on in the programme, as when the teenager arrives at their council house, they admit that the lights are off as they’ve run out of electricity.
‘I think the rich kid will pack their bags and run as they’re used to having a big luxury Christmas and they’re not going to get that here,’ Lindsay said before April’s visit.
Wanting to challenge the teenager to live like them, April was given a budget to buy the Christmas dinner.
The Burke’s struggle is shown to April early on in the programme, as when the teenager arrives at their council house, they admit that the lights are off as they’ve run out of electricity Pictured: April with the Burke’s youngest child
Thanks to her father selling his extremely successful IT business, April (pictured with the Burke family) has five wardrobes filled with designer clothes, including £400 trainers and £500 heels, plus a luxury Cartier watch similar to one warn by Meghan Markle
She was given just £15 to feed six people – with the only tip from Lindsay being to avoid buying turkey ‘because it would take most of your budget’.
‘It’s definitely going to be difficult. I think it’s a very small budget especially for Christmas dinner,’ confessed April, who is usually treated to a meal from a private chef during her family’s big day.
But after receiving guidance from Clayton about his siblings’ fussy eating habits, April succeeds in her task and buys turkey drummers, chicken thighs, chips, potatoes and frozen vegetables for the whole family – all with 49p to spare.
‘Well done, love,’ an impressed Lindsay said. ‘You’re getting good at this, your mother is going to love you.’
The teenager treated the family (pictured with April during the visit) to a day out at a Christmas market at the end of her stay
Reflecting on her time with the Burkes, April (pictured at her home) said: ‘I will be grateful for it as I guess I always just thought that maybe everyone has a big Christmas dinner and you’d just save but I guess it’s not possible on a budget’
Both Lindsay and April became emotional during filming, with the mother-of-three saying: ‘When you want to give the kids what they want and you can’t, it is hard.’
And April soon broke down in tears when realising that the £400 trainers she’d chosen to wear during the weekend could pay for all the children’s Christmas presents.
‘When they said that your trainers could pay for all three of their Christmases, I felt quite bad,’ she recalled.
The teenager treated the family to a day out at a Christmas market at the end of her stay, to which the grateful parents said: ‘It was a really lovely time.’
They added: ‘She can come back next year, definitely,’ while Alan said: ‘You surprised me actually, when I asked you to do something you didn’t hesitate and you just did it. It changes your opinion on rich children.’
Reflecting on her time with the Burkes, April said: ‘I will be grateful for it as I guess I always just thought that maybe everyone has a big Christmas dinner and you’d just save, but I guess it’s not possible on a budget.’
Rich Kids, Skint Christmas airs tonight at 9pm on 5Star