Benidorm is a British sitcom written and created by Derren Litten and produced by Tiger Aspect for ITV that aired for ten series from 1 February 2007 until 2 May 2018. The series features an ensemble cast of holiday makers and staff at the Solana all-inclusive hotel in Benidorm, Spain over the course of a week each year.
The series first aired on 1 February 2007. Critically acclaimed, Benidorm has received two National Television Awards and nominations at the British Comedy Awards and BAFTAs.
On 5 July 2018, series creator and writer Derren Litten confirmed that series 10 would be the last. Benidorm Live, a stage adaption written by Litten, was announced with 250 shows scheduled in theatres across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Series 1 introduced the main characters, the Garvey family: parents Mick (Steve Pemberton) and Janice (Siobhan Finneran), teenage daughter Chantelle ('Telle' – Hannah Hobley) and seven-year-old son Michael (Oliver Stokes). They are on their first holiday abroad, paid for by Janice's mother – the sun-worshipping, chain-smoking Madge (Sheila Reid), who doesn't have a kind word for anyone.
Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski) and Donald (Kenny Ireland) have been coming to Benidorm for twenty years and are enthusiastic, middle-aged swingers. Kate (Abigail Cruttenden) and Martin Weedon (Nicholas Burns) are going through a rough patch during their third year of marriage. Within seconds of arriving, they realise that the Solana is the worst place for them to make a fresh start.
Geoff Maltby (Johnny Vegas), who calls himself 'The Oracle', has an irritating computer-like knowledge of trivia, he claims to be the Lancashire pub quiz champion, and is prone to fits of competitive behaviour; he has always come on holiday with his mother, Noreen (Elsie Kelly). Gavin (Hugh Sachs) and Troy (Paul Bazely) are on their first holiday together after setting up a successful hair salon. They consider themselves superior to the other guests but are happy enough to get drunk and snigger at them; later in the series, their relationship hits rock bottom when Troy is caught with another series regular.
Also introduced in Series 1 are barman Mateo (Jake Canuso), who flirts with anything that breathes, and Janey (Crissy Rock), the hotel manager and cabaret M.C. at Neptune's bar. Guest cast members include Ella Kenion as a fake fee-collector who cons the Garveys out of money at the beach – but who is caught when she turns up at Neptune's; and Niky Wardley, playing Kelly, Mateo's ex-lover.
Series 2 was broadcast in April 2008 and saw all the main characters from series 1 return to the Solana Resort for eight new episodes. However, there were two new arrivals for the Garvey family: Mel (Geoffrey Hutchings) – the owner of five sun bed shops and "Didsbury's answer to Julio Iglesias"; plus 17-year-old Chantelle's new baby Coolio.
Niky Wardley returned as Kelly this time with her mother Sylvia (Wendy Richard), who was a wheelchair-riding love rival for Madge; Margi Clarke made a brief appearance as Dorothy, Gavin's estranged mother; and Elliott Jordan played Jack, a British bar-owner with whom Janice found temptation.
Benidorm returned for a one-hour summer special, which featured all the regular cast plus Jack (Elliott Jordan), and a wanted murderer named Enrique (Christopher Sciueref).
Starting with a recap of Mel and Madge's wedding, the main plotline involved the abduction of Janice and Madge by Enrique, and the hostage-taking of them, Mick, Donald, Troy, Mateo and Gavin – leading to a helicopter rescue from the Solana rooftop. The crew took the opportunity to shoot some aerial footage of Benidorm from the helicopter, used as scene bridges in subsequent episodes.
With ratings rising, Series 3 followed in October 2009 in a new 45-minute format. It was set one year after the summer special as the holidaymakers took up the offer of a free holiday given to them by the Solana Resort. The regulars from series 2 returned, but this time Martin did not bring Kate, instead bringing mischievous Brandy (Sheridan Smith), who was not all she seemed. The appearance of well-known guest stars was becoming something of a tradition, with Keith Barron playing a very English Deputy Mayor; Tim Healy playing Geoff's transvestite blind date Les/Lesley; Robin Askwith playing Gary, a conman and a thief who was revealed as Brandy's lover, and Una Stubbs making an appearance in the final episode as Martin's mother, Diana. Cast regular Kate (Abigail Cruttenden) made her only Series 3 appearance in the same episode, flying out to help Martin in the aftermath of a mass robbery by Gary and Brandy. It was later revealed she was seeing someone else, dashing Martin's hopes for a reconciliation.
Stuart McGugan played Donald's practical-joking friend Wink, who electrocuted himself to death on-stage at Neptune's, and Lorraine Bruce appeared as one of Madge's estranged daughters. By the end of Series 3, the show was regularly attracting 6 million viewers and had won two National TV Awards and been nominated for both a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award. Series 4 was commissioned a few days after Series 3 finished airing.
As filming was just about to begin on the new Christmas special that would precede the fourth series, the production was thrown into chaos. Geoffrey Hutchings, who played Mel, died suddenly from a suspected viral infection. As result of his untimely death, the scripts had to be heavily re-written, and the storyline became that Mel had died off-screen on a business trip abroad. Johnny Vegas, Paul Bazely, Hannah Hobley, Abigail Cruttenden, and Nicholas Burns all did not return.
The Christmas special, however, aired on Boxing Day 2010 and featured special guests including Marvin (Louie Spence), who was a member of the Middlesbrough Swingers Association, and Su Pollard played herself as a guest star. Tim Healy returned as Les/Lesley, this time working for Mel and directing the Garveys to Madge's villa.
Asa Eliott made a small appearance singing for the Benidorm Palace. Roy Wood made a brief appearance at the end of the special, singing the big hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day", which played as the Garveys received news of Mel's death. Brian Murphy appeared as Noreen's love interest Clive Mitchell; he proposed to her but did not return in series four.
A number of new characters were created for Series 4 to fill out the cast list again. Following his guest appearances in Series 3 Tim Healy became a full-time cast member as barman Les, with his son Liam (Adam Gillen) tagging along to Benidorm for a cheap holiday. A whiff of a Benidorm holiday romance was soon in the air for Liam, as he took an immediate shine to new girl Natalie (Kathryn Drysdale) – but her friend Sam (Shelley Longworth) has other ideas on their potential romance.
Gavin was given a new holiday companion, Kenneth (Tony Maudsley). Plus, Noreen brought her stressed-out daughter Pauline (Selina Griffiths) on holiday in place of Geoff. Pauline, having spent the past few years in South Africa with her husband but now going through a messy divorce, is irritable and doesn't make friends easily and later throughout the series became an alcoholic, which annoyed and upset some of the regulars
Returning characters for the fourth series included the Garvey family, who start the series embroiled in a typical Garvey holiday disaster. Meanwhile, the legendary Middlesbrough Swingers Association lost its two most popular members for the summer as Benidorm once again welcomed back Donald and Jacqueline. Hotel staff Mateo and Janey continued to watch on through it all as the holiday chaos unfolds around them. There were a few special appearances such as Lucky Kev (Neil Fitzmaurice) who appeared in a number of episodes and there were one-off appearances, Cilla Black playing herself but now living in Madge's previous villa, and Scary Mary (Denise Welch) and Mr Pink (Melvyn Hayes), both Madge's enemies and looking for her to pay up her debts. Michael Fenton Stevens made a brief appearance on the last episode, playing the head of the British consulate.
Ian Reddington made an appearance as Johnny Neptune, who was an old flame of Janice Garvey and friend of Janey. This was the last series to feature Janey, the old manager (Crissy Rock) as a regular character. She returned for one episode in Series 5 and two episodes in Series 7. The last episode of the series saw the last appearance of Troy until series 8 in January 2016. The character was making the holiday after his father died in the USA.
Litten, the writer, claimed at the end of the previous series that he was not willing to write any more episodes. However, due to high viewing rates and public reaction, Litten agreed to write another series and continue with the show.
Janey York (Crissy Rock) only returned briefly in this series, but not as manageress of the Solana – a new manageress, Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson), was taken on. Mick, Janice, Michael and Madge all returned for another holiday. Jacqueline and Donald also returned following their false insurance claim (in where Donald faked his own suicide) Kenneth is now a Benidorm businessman with his popular new hair salon based at the Solana resort – and a new colleague, Carmen (Alba Ortega). Gavin flies out to join him on holiday, but without Troy – the couple had previously had an argument and temporarily separated. Noreen (Elsie Kelly) was back to the resort and flying solo without her son or daughter for the first time, whilst Liam (Adam Gillen) was now a caretaker at the Solana. Meanwhile, Sam returned with new Liverpudlian friend in tow, Trudy (Michelle Butterly).
Asa Eliott reprised his role since the Christmas special, now regularly appearing as the singer in Neptune's Bar. Elliott Jordan reprised his role as Jack briefly, only this time he was revealed to be Liam's new flatmate and made a failed attempt to get with Janice Garvey. Michael Fenton Stevens reprised his role as a member of the British Consulate to help Donald and Jacqueline. This was the first and only series to feature Trudy (Michelle Butterly), and it was the last time Sam (Shelley Longworth) featured until Series 9. This was also the last series to feature Gavin (Hugh Sachs).
A new family was added to the show at this point. The Dykes, a lively family from Watford, consist of father Clive (Perry Benson) firmly under the thumb of his no nonsense wife Tonya (Hannah Waddingham) – both bring their son Tiger (Danny Walters) with them, and further in the series, their daughter Bianca (Bel Powley) shows up, claiming that her rich boyfriend dumped her while they were holidaying in the Maldives. Both Tiger and Bianca are young, single and looking for fun.
Returning to enjoy the newly announced four-star hotel treatment are Mick and Janice Garvey, with acid-tongued Madge not far behind. The Garveys also brought Michael, their son, with them again, who has now grown into an adventurous teenager. With Michael and Tiger off on trouble-making adventures around the resort, it isn't long before the Dykes and the Garveys begin to argue. Other favourites returning to the Solana Resort include popular swingers Donald and Jacqueline Stewart, who intended to claim their free holiday that manageress Joyce Temple-Savage promised them at the end of the last series.
Mateo and Lesley are still working at the hotel, however, Liam is now working with Kenneth at his 'Blow & Go' salon – the very discreet and selective hair and beauty emporium within the Solana resort. Series 6 also saw the return of Martin Weedon (Nicholas Burns), who arrives on the loud and drunken stag do of his rich friend. This time he's very single and finds himself having a 'drunken encounter' with one of the known female holidaymakers. The Stewarts, the Garveys and Mateo are the only original cast remaining.
Returning guest stars include Matthew Kelly returning as Cyril Babcock, a former dance prodigy and teacher who was living rough in Benidorm. He was subsequently made into Assistant Manager. Elliott Jordan returns to play Jack. He plays a practical joke on Michael and Tiger which leads to Michael punching him in the face. Asa Elliott made further guest appearances in Neptunes. Guest stars include Ken Morley playing the Head of a local Hairdressing Mafia and Kenneth's uncle, Philip Olivier as Jason – a sexy new barman. Also featured in the series are The Krankies and Rustie Lee appearing as friends of swingers Donald and Jacqueline, legendary Hollywood star Joan Collins arrives as Crystal Hennessy-Vass, the CEO of the Solana Hotel Group and also Joyce's high-maintenance boss; Janet Street Porter, making a cameo appearance as a news reporter; and Holly Earl, who plays a local girl called Elena catching the eye of Michael Garvey and Tiger Dyke. It is revealed that she likes Michael more than Tiger, who is reluctant to accept this and attempts to steal Elena from Michael. Series 6 was the first since Series 1 to air on Thursdays.
After the sixth series had aired, ITV confirmed that a seventh series would air in 2015. It was filmed at the Sol Pelicanos Ocas and different locations around Benidorm between March and late June 2014. Perry Benson, Jake Canuso, Janine Duvitski, Adam Gillen, Tim Healy, Sherrie Hewson, Tony Maudsley and Danny Walters all returned as regulars from series 6. Siobhan Finneran, Steve Pemberton, Sheila Reid and Oliver Stokes also returned, but only appeared in the first two episodes which were written specifically to end their time on the show. Hannah Waddingham and Bel Powley did not return.
Following Kenny Ireland's death, his character Donald Stewart did not appear but his voice was heard in a phone call to Jacqueline, played by Duvitski, in the final episode of the series. Jacqueline continued to appear in the series and was joined by Alan David, as reluctant swinger Glynn Flint; Glynn's wife Rhiannon (played by Ruth Madoc) was holidaying in France with Donald. Leslie Jordan guest starred as Buck A. Roo for two episodes, playing an attorney who revealed the Garveys had inherited $30,000,000 before whisking them off to Las Vegas. In episode three, Geoff Maltby/The Oracle (Johnny Vegas) and his mum Noreen (Elsie Kelly) returned for a darts quiz hosted by Les/Lesley, where Geoff quickly made enemies with Clive (Perry Benson) and Tiger Dyke (Danny Walters). In the fourth episode, Denise Black guest starred as Gloria, Liam's mother, who came to Benidorm to try and persuade him to return home, while Kenneth was on the lookout to find something to cure Joyce's facial expressions. In the fifth episode, Crystal Hennessy-Vass (Joan Collins) returned to the Solana to take Joyce out for lunch, only to give Joyce a week's notice as part of an economy drive to cut staff costs. Joyce then discovered her job had been taken by Janey York (Crissy Rock), who was prepared to work for half Joyce's salary. The last episode in the series was dedicated to Kenny Ireland. In the final episode, legendary Spanish actress Loles León appeared as Dolores, the overbearing and violent mother-in-law of Mateo.
Series 7 began airing on ITV on 2 January 2015 and finished on 13 February. In Series 7, the show went back to airing on Fridays, as it had done from Series 2–5, excluding Specials.
The eighth series of the show consisting of 7 episodes was commissioned on 6 February 2015, with all episodes being written solely by the show's creator, Derren Litten. Jake Canuso, Janine Duvitski, Tim Healy, Tony Maudsley, Sherrie Hewson and Danny Walters all returned. Perry Benson, Charlotte Eaton and Alan David did not return.
Julie Graham, Steve Edge, Bobby Knutt, Josh Bolt and Honor Kneafsey appeared as new family, the Dawsons. Jessica Ellerby and Nathan Bryon joined the cast as Amber Platt and Joey Ellis, respectively. Paul Bazely and Selina Griffiths returned, both having not appeared since Series 4. Sheila Reid is returning for one episode; however, Siobhan Finneran, Steve Pemberton and Oliver Stokes did not return. Several previous guest stars returned, including Louis Emerick, Paul Chan, John Challis, Milanka Brooks and Joan Collins, while Kevin Bishop and Shane Richie made guest appearances. Series 8 began airing on ITV on 11 January 2016 and ended on 22 February. For the first time, the show began airing on Mondays.
In February 2016, during the airing of the eighth series, a ninth series was commissioned. Filming began on 14 March 2016 and ended on 14 July 2016. It began airing on 1 March 2017 and ended on 3 May. The news was confirmed by Pere Agullo – a spokesperson for Filming Spain, the local production company in Spain for Tiger Aspect Productions. The series will consist of 9 episodes.
Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage), Jake Canuso (Mateo Castellanos) and Tim Healy (Les/Lesley Conroy) were the first characters announced to make a return to the show. In May 2016, Healy fell ill whilst filming, resulting in him being written out of half of the series. Tony Maudsley (Kenneth Du Beke), Danny Walters (Tiger Dyke), Josh Bolt (Rob Dawson), Paul Bazely (Troy Ramsbottom), Nathan Bryon (Joey Ellis), Adam Gillen (Liam Conroy), Johnny Vegas (Geoff Maltby), Elsie Kelly (Noreen Maltby), Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline Stewart) and Selina Griffiths (Pauline Maltby) all returned. Shelley Longworth reprised her role as Sam Wood for the ninth series having not appeared since Series 5, however is now a holiday rep, not a holidaymaker.
In March 2017, the tenth series was commissioned. The series began airing on 28 February 2018 and ended on 2 May 2018 on ITV, introducing new characters Cyd (Laila Zaidi) and Callum (Julian Moore-Cooke). In September 2017, actor Bobby Knutt died; however, filming had already finished. The first episode was dedicated to him.
On 20 February 2018, a week before the new series commenced, a documentary called Benidorm: 10 Years On Holiday was aired to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the show. The show's creator and writer, Derren Litten, guided viewers around the set and Benidorm itself to reveal how the show was created. Past and present cast members discussed their roles on the show, alongside outtakes and behind the scenes footage of the 10th series being filmed. In July 2018, Litten confirmed that series 10 would be the last series to air.
In 2017, dates were announced for a major theatre tour of the sitcom's stage adaptation. The tour began in Newcastle, England at the Theatre Royal on 7 September 2018, and is set to conclude in Canterbury, England at the Marlowe Theatre on 20 April 2019. Two hundred and thirty-five shows are scheduled to take place in various locations throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Solana is the hotel featured in the show, where most of the characters stay. The pool scenes are filmed at the Sol Pelicanos Ocas Hotel in Benidorm, and the room scenes are filmed in the Acuariam II Apartments (which overlook the pool). The reception area and the salon is filmed in a studio set in a building opposite Benidorm Palace, known as "The Pink House".
Neptune's is an all-inclusive bar/restaurant featured in the show, and owned by The Solana. Most of the characters are seen here in the evening, where seemingly there is karaoke and live entertainment every night. Occasional guest appearances take place from singer Asa Elliott, and previously Shaun Foster Conley. Neptune's is filmed in Morgan's Tavern, nearby to Sol Pelicanos Ocas, where the pool scenes are filmed.
Television network FOX has commissioned an American adaptation of the sitcom, named The Big Package.
The adaptation will be set in a Mexican holiday resort, with the plot revolving around a Bostonian family, similar to the Garvey family, who go on holiday to escape their financial issues. The title of the adaptation derives from the three-star resort it is set at, which offers a "big package deal". Writers Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler will be adapting Derren Litten's scripts for the show.