Why I LOVE Benidorm

the garvey family benidorm

I’m so chuffed that a new series of Benidorm is starting tonight, I just felt compelled to pen a Why I LOVE about it… because love it I do, as I know millions of us Brits do.

And I suspect we love it so much because there’s someone we all know in that cast of misfits and typical-Brits-abroad who holiday year after year at the all-inclusive Solana resort.

Written by Derren Litten, co-writer of The Catherine Tate Show, the first ever episode of Benidorm aired on Thursday 1st February 2007 and I was hooked, along with several million others…

We were introduced to the main cast of characters which included dysfunctional families, middle-aged swingers and bickering couples, all played by an impressive cast which includes Steve Pemberton, Siobhan Finneran and Johnny Vegas.

There were few holds barred in series one of Benidorm, and it’s carried on being the same earthy and fabulously funny show ever since, and I’m sure series three will be no exception.

Here’s a clip from the first ever episode of Benidorm when Mick and Janice finally realise their daughter Chantelle is pregnant… be warned, this clip contains swearing so may not be suitable for those without a sense of humour…

After being a huge success, a second series went to air on Friday 28th March 2008 and was another eight glorious episodes, which was two more than we had in series one. Meanwhile, Benidorm was nominated for a BAFTA in the Best Sitcom category of the 2008 awards and it most deservedly won a National Television Award in the Best Comedy category.

Benidorm is filmed at the Hotel Sol Pelicanos-Ocas in Benidorm and many of the extras who feature in it are local expats. The Neptune Bar, where most of the cabaret scenes are shown, was in actuality shot in a bar called Morgan’s Tavern, which is directly across the road from the hotel. The reception area of Solana is shot in the secondary reception of the real-life Buena Vista apartments.

However, despite the fact that in the main, Benidorm got nothing but good press, Derren Litten did set off a little storm of controversy when the Sunday Mirror leaked details of an email that was sent to him by ITV execs in April 2008.

The email was about comments received from a viewer of the show, but in Litten’s leaked reply, he’d said the viewer, Sue Fisher, could “go f*** herself with the fat end of a pineapple”.

At the time, an ITV spokesman said, “This is clearly a private email. ITV responded to the viewer in an appropriate manner.”

I think Derren’s reply was funnier than any standard mail ITV might’ve sent!

But it was a storm in a teacup and Benidorm went from strength to strength, attracting bigger audiences by the week. And just as an aside, Derren made two cameo appearances in series two, though they were brief roles.

Paul Jackson first commissioned the show for ITV and said of it, “Benidorm is the holiday experience we have all had where you spend 14 days avoiding the lairy couple who sat behind you on the coach.

“Derren has created a fantastic range of characters and the sure quality of his writing has attracted a really exciting cast who will bring to life the joys and the horrors of the all inclusive package holiday.”

And over the course of the last two series, and the one off special, we’ve seen a host of famous faces as guest stars, including of course the late Wendy Richard who was more than a match for the crotchety mobility scooter riding Madge.

Here’s a clip of their fabulously catty first meeting…

Awesome!

Madge, played by Sheila Reid, is truly brilliant. Here’s another clip of her having a very confusing conversation about skin cancer…

donald and jacqueline

But two of my most favourite characters are aging swingers Jacqueline and Donald, played brilliantly by Janine Duvitski and Kenny Ireland. There’s pretty much nobody at the resort who they haven’t either slept with or made a pass at, much to everyone’s horror!

oracle and noreen benidorm

I also absolutely love Noreen, played by Elsie Kelly, who’s the mum of Johnny Vegas’s character, the Oracle, or his PA as he likes to call her.

Actually, come to think of it, there’s nobody I don’t really love in Benidorm; Gavin and Troy, camp couple extraordinaire are fabulously funny, as is the entire Garvey clan.

It seems the whole cast have a lot of fun making the show too, judging by these blooper clips which also include some deleted scenes….

I can’t wait for tonight’s new series to start! It’s on ITV1 at 9pm, so if you’re off out, don’t forget to either set your video recorder or Sky+ it… failing that, you’ll be able to watch it on ITV Player’s catch-up service.

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.