The day has arrived…. the final episode of the ITV comedy Benidorm will be aired tonight following confirmation that the show will be axed by ITV bosses amid falling ratings. Rumours had been circulating since March, with many tabloids running those headlines, but writer Derren Litten had always been somewhat arrogant in replies on his twitter account to those asking that very question.
There will be tears shed by many, either of sadness or joy because a bit like marmite – you either loved it or hated it. Speaking with British expats that live here, most fall into the latter category whereas generally speaking, those in the UK loved it. Perhaps they just love seeing glimpse of their favourite holiday destination, bringing back fond memories.
Many that live here were unhappy with how it demeaned and cheapened their beautiful resort – yes they accept it’s a tongue-in-cheek comedy but lately the crudity was anything but funny to many here. But on the flip side, it was nice to see different parts of the resort featured, especially in the earlier series.
The show was first aired in February 2007 having been filmed the previous autumn to much excitement by everyone here. The original Garvey family, including the chain-smoking Madge, was loved by all and many cite their departure, in series 5, which was aired in 2012 as the beginning of the end. But the mahogany loud-mouthed scooter-loving matriarch certainly has a lot to answer for here. Madge is most definitely responsible for the surge of irresponsible scooter users here now, who think it great fun to hire one and whizz about the resort.
The new family that arrived for series 6, the Dykes were never really liked by viewers and it was at this point they started to switch off. But it kept coming back to the surprise of just about everyone. Despite millions of fans allegedly watching, the show only ever managed to win 2 NTA’s – the last back in 2011 so perhaps that tells a story? Mateo, there from the very first episode and Kenneth certainly kept the series afloat.
Many actors had cameo parts and it was with great interest that many watched, to see who would be the next one. The prize catch for Derren had to be getting Joan Collins to appear – which caused much hysteria the first time round. Some cynically said that most were ‘has been – past their sell by date, perhaps hoping to resurrect their acting careers” and at time the only thing Joan had appeared in was an advert for Snicker bars!
Either way, the show did bring many to the resort and specifically to the Sol Pelicanos hotel, the fictitious Solana where all the pool shots where done. Some even made a point of booking their holidays when filming was taking place in the hope of bumping into some of the actors, who were more often than not, always very gracious and stopped to chat and take selfies with them.
It was also economically beneficial to the resort – 4 months of filming created employment for many locals. Not only the extras required for background scenes, but the Sol Pelicanos obviously did very well out of the deal and the Pink House had its only use for the year, kitted out as the Solana reception.
Then there were apartment rentals for regular cast members, catering trucks, van hire, bars and restaurants and the numerous locations, including Mirador, Benidorm Palace, Terra Natura, Fonts Algar and Karting Finestrat which was used for one episode featuring Madge!
But those in the UK can continue their love affair of Benidorm as a UK tour, with a stage version of “Benidorm Live’ is starting in the autumn… Jake Canuso, Tony Maudsley, Sherrie Hewson and many other favourites will all be treading the boards.