Final episode of 'Benidorm'
Last programme of the 11-year comedy was aired this week
A BIT like Marmite, you either loved ITV comedy series 'Benidorm' or hated it.
This week, ITV announced that this current series was the final one and that it was being axed following consistently falling ratings. The awards, or lack of, certainly speak for themselves.
The series had been nominated every year for the National Television Awards - NTA’s Comedy Category, which are chosen by the viewers - yet only ever won twice, the last time back in 2011… Surely that in itself speaks volumes?
So after 11 years it’s adios to Mateo, Kenneth, Jacqueline, Joyce et al… and according to those that live here, not a moment too soon!
Asking some local expat residents to comment on the news, none was surprised – only that it had taken so long!
Stuart Sauders said: “Run its course about four years ago – ITV made the right decision." Beryle Grigg: “Good it's finished, it was just too awful to watch.” Pat Barry from Villamar: “Gone on for too long – gives Benidorm a bad name.” Val Daly: “Watched it but gone downhill – they struggled with the storyline.” And Ann Ellioot: “Good – it’s run its course.”
Even as far back as March, the UK papers were saying that it was being axed and many were asking the creator, Derren Litten, on his social media account if it was true. “People are saying it's being axed.” To which he replied: “They also said Elvis was alive.” And in a long statement to one critic he replied: “Thanks to all the haters who believe calling a show shit is criticism. You guys make me so happy that my life is filled with such fun in a beautiful home bought from my own talent.” With a laughing emoji face.
He appeared to have an air of arrogance to those who dare to criticise that the show was no longer funny – but then you can’t please everyone all of the time and different people laugh at different things. But it changed from being funny in a naughty way, with innuendo, to just plain crudity, especially in this last series, turning many people off.
The show was first aired in February 2007, having been filmed the previous autumn to much excitement from everyone here.
The original Garvey family, including the chain-smoking matriarch Madge, was loved by all, and many people cite their departure, in series 5, which was aired in 2012, as the beginning of the end.
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. But Madge was responsible for the surge of irresponsible mobility scooters users here, wanting to replicate her whizzing around.
Although bylaws have been brought in by the town hall, it is often hard to see it has been implemented by the number of youngsters whizzing around irrespon- sibly on the pavements here.
However, it must be said that the months of filming here was good for the local economy.
The cast and crew stayed here for around four months, renting apartments, eating out, etc, using car and van hire and catering services, not to mention booking the entire first floor of the Sol Pelicanos hotel, the fictitious Solana where the pool scenes are all filmed.
It is hard to believe that British holidaymakers would specifically coincide their holidays to be around during filming, in the hope of catching some of the crew in between shots.
One of the UK’s biggest fans is probably Jason Green, and his love of the series does not stop at visiting each of the filming locations multiple times a year or watching his DVD box sets repeatedly. He has a permanent inked reminder. But not just an odd tattoo – characters, locations and cast signatures adorn his entire back and arms in homage to the series!
We asked Jason for his reaction to the news and he told CBNews the following: “Well, all good things have to come to a end. They can take Benidorm off the TV but they will never take Benidorm out of my heart or even off my skin! I will carry on with my body tattoos in honour of the show and all the cast and crew. I will have most of the locations added. And if they had carried on for another 10 years, I would have had to go to my legs!
"The programme has brought Benidorm to the UK and it is one of the best places I have been, and even if there is no filming there will still be a Benidorm to visit! ITV are right out of order when they have six million plus viewers. I will miss the fun times I had hunting them down on location and meeting them, and Tony's face when I see him and he says 'oh no, my personal stalker'! But like I said, I'm gutted, but I'm sure and hope it will be back. Even if not, I will carry it on myself on my body.”
We also spoke to some holidaymakers here in the resort to ask their thoughts.
"Strange how those in the UK seem to love it, yet the majority of those here hated it – at least in the latter years," James Moroney from Birmingham said. “Don’t like the new family,” Sally, also from Birmingham, added. “It’s not been the same since the Garveys and Madge left.” And another disappointed fan said: “I’m going to miss it, it shows the fun side of Benidorm. A lot of people came to Benidorm because of the series and stayed at the hotel because it.”
But the writer and creator hasn’t totally hung up his Benidorm hat – starting this September, some of the cast are on a UK tour, with a stage version ‘Benidorm Live’. Among those taking part are Jake Canuso, Janine Duvitski, Sherrie Hewson, Tony Maudsley and Shelley Longworth. That should keep his UK fan base happy. But from the feedback, not many people will be flying over to book tickets! So now it really is Adios…