FOR a decade, Benidorm has been having fun in the sun with its eccentric gang of warring families and middle-aged swingers.
Now the cast of the ITV hit comedy are marking the mile-stone by taking us behind the scenes in a one-off special.
Benidorm: Ten Years on Holiday reveals the on-set secrets of the all-inclusive Solana Hotel, fictional home to the boozy Brits abroad.
The documentary, which airs before the sitcom returns for a tenth series this month, reunites fan favourites to share tales of smelly hot pants, fight scenes gone wrong and ham stuffed down trousers.
Anyone who has been on a package holiday will have tales of raucous behaviour.
And Benidorm, created by former Catherine Tate Show co-writer Derren Litten, has seen its fair share of drama over its ten years.
By the end of series five, the bitter rivalry between hotel manager Joyce Temple-Savage and gay hairdresser Kenneth Du Beke, played by Tony Maudsley, saw the pair come to blows.
Recalling their fight scene, Sherrie Hewson, 67, who plays Joyce, says: “I remember Tony saying, ‘You’re actually doing it for real Sherrie. You’re actually thumping me in the face’.
“And I went, ‘I’m really sorry but I don’t know how to pull it’.”
She adds: “I couldn’t help it because I really wanted to smack him because I thought it will look so much better if I smack him.”
The scene ends with Joyce knocking Ken’s front teeth out by the swimming pool.
Tony, 50, says: “People always say, ‘How did they do that?’. Little secret, just before we filmed that scene, I’d had a fight with a patio door at my mum’s house.
“By the time I came to film I was halfway through having implant surgery to have my two teeth replaced. Derren phoned me up and said, ‘Do you mind if I write it into the show?’.
I said, ‘Absolutely, let’s do it’. What you see me spitting out of my mouth is half a piece of chewing gum, very cleverly edited.”Bobby Knutt as Eddie Dawson in Benidorm has some toilet trouble
Tony’s character is notorious for his fashion sense, including his slogan T-shirts and hot pants.
But the actor reveals how bosses were inspired by his own wardrobe.
He says: “The execs were not keen on the original shorts he was in so I mentioned I had a pair of tight denim shorts from H&M, which I pulled out my bag, and they said let’s give them a try.
“They looked like hot pants and that’s how Kenneth’s hot pants were born. I think I wore that same pair for the next four series — they were a bit whiffy at the end.”
Benidorm is known for its many celeb cameos, with stars begging for a role. One of the most popular was Dame Joan Collins.
Her late sister Jackie even once phoned Derren asking for a part.
Former Auf Wiedersehen, Pet star Tim Healy bagged his role as cross-dresser Lesley in series three after a chance conversation with Derren.
Tim, 66, says: “I met Derren and said, ‘Oh I love the show, it’s great’.
“He said, ‘Well, would you like to do one?’. By this time I’d had a few beers and I said, ‘I’d love to’. And he said, ‘Well, what would you like to play?’.
“And I said, ‘Something people would never expect’.”
So transvestite Lesley was brought in as a potential love interest for pub quiz champ Geoff “The Oracle” Maltby, played by Johnny Vegas.
Eternally single Geoff gets to know Lesley in an online chat room but is in for a shock when they meet for their first date.
Tim says: “It was my first scene so nobody knew who this character was going to be and Johnny actually said he didn’t want to see me in the gear until he actually turned round.” But when it came down to it, Johnny, 46, could not keep a straight face.
In a never-before-seen out-take, the documentary shows him freeze up and then burst out laughing, saying: “Sorry, it’s the first time I’ve seen him in a wig. I’m sorry!”
Wiping away tears of laughter, Tim explains: “He just absolutely collapsed and we had to do it again.”
Other stars returning for the documentary include Steve Pemberton, who played Michael Garvey, Siobhan Finneran, 51, who was his wife Janice, and Sheila Reid, the mother-in-law from hell Madge Harvey. Acid-tongued Madge delivered withering put-downs from her trademark mobility scooter, which she used despite being able to walk.
But Sheila, 80, struggled to control the scooter at first. She says: “I couldn’t drive the thing straight and I was bashing into doors so I had to have lessons.”
Over its ten years, Benidorm has sadly lost some actors, including Kenny Ireland, who played Donald Stewart opposite Janine Duvitski as his wife Jacqueline. He died from cancer aged 69 in 2014.
And Geoffrey Hutchings, who played Madge’s husband Mel, died aged 71 from meningitis in 2010
Another fan favourite is Jake Canuso who stars as sleazy barman Mateo Castellanos. In series two he learned the hard way about the old saying of not working with animals. On a trip to see a bullfight, his character stands in for the matador.
But instead of a bull, a dog wearing horns is used to chase him around the ring. Jake, 48, says: “The dog clearly wasn’t trained. We improvised the scene. I fell over and we kept it all in.
“I had ham stuffed down my trousers and in my shoes so the dog would bite me for comedy effect.”
Jake has also had close encounters with fans desperate to meet the stars.
He says: “I get all the groping. I get licked and kissed on a daily basis.”
But Tim Healy adds: “They’re your bread and butter really. If they weren’t there you wouldn’t have a show. They want a photograph and we always give them time for that.”
Sometimes, however, it is the cast that wants the selfie. Tony Maudsley tells the story of when the team went for drinks after filming.
He says: “There was probably ten of the cast there, then all of a sudden around the corner came ten versions of us. It was a stag and hen party. So we had this brilliant photo of us next to ourselves if you like.”
The guests of The Solana like a drink too — and none more so than Geoff’s bossy sister Pauline Mamood.
Playing drunk is notoriously hard to pull off, but actress Selina Griffiths, 49, reveals her secret.
She says: “I’m completely teetotal and always have been. I’ve had a lifetime of observing people getting absolutely bladdered.”
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Many of the drunken scenes take place at the Neptune’s karaoke bar — and karaoke bars are something the cast have some experience of in real life, too.
Ben Cavey, managing director of Benidorm producer Tiger Aspect, says: “I once got trapped in a pub toilet while the cast were singing karaoke in the bar. They were having such a good time that no one could hear me, I was stuck for a good hour.”
And just like the many stag and hen do holiday makers, there is a golden rule on the show — what happens in Benidorm stays in Benidorm.
Benidorm: Ten Years on Holiday is on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday, February 20. Benidorm series ten starts on Wednesday, February 28, at 9pm on ITV.
Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/5562135/benidorm-celebrates-a-decade/