Fi­nal episode of 'Benidorm'

Last pro­gramme of the 11-year com­edy was aired this week

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Irena Bodnarec

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…

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