SPARKS AND RECREATION
JOHNNY VEGAS AND EMILIA FOX play bickering holidaymakers in a colourful comedy
NEW COMEDY Home from Home Friday, BBC1 Hd, 9.30pm
JOHNNY VEGAS SPENT years playing bumbling sun-seeker the Oracle in Benidorm, but his new BBC1 comedy Home from Home finds him on a very different kind of holiday.
The series, shown as a pilot in 2016, stars Vegas as motorway-service-station worker Neil Hackett, who has bought a dilapidated lodge at a Lake District holiday park with longsuffering wife Fiona (Niky Wardley) and their two sons.
Neil’s neighbours at the park include snooty Penny Dillon (Emilia Fox), who owns a more upmarket lodge on the site with her husband, Robert (Adam James), and their daughter. Sure enough, the mismatched couples soon begin to fall out big time…
Here, Vegas, 46, and Fox, 43, tell us more…
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SHOW?
VEGAS It is a class comedy that has poignancy as well as physical gags. Most of the problems are generated in Neil’s head. He sees Penny and Robert as people who have everything he hasn’t, so he has simmering jealousy, but he is the architect of his own downfall.
FOX Penny is unhinged, brutal and used to getting her own way. She and Neil are always bickering while Fiona and Robert are nice, innocent bystanders. I’m sorry for being so horrible to you on screen, Johnny.
VEGAS I’d forgive you anything.
WHY DO YOU THINK A HOLIDAY PARK IS SUCH A GOOD SETTING FOR COMEDY?
VEGAS Holidays always have a way of heightening tensions, and a holiday park is a social melting pot. For the Hacketts, their lodge is a dream come true, but it should really be called Amityville because it looks like a haunted house.
FOX Penny’s lodge is gorgeous and even has a hot tub outside. I’d be thrilled to stay there but she’d rather be in Ibiza.
NEIL GETS HIMSELF INTO SOME PRETTY TRICKY SITUATIONS, INCLUDING BEING SET ADRIFT IN A HOT-AIR BALLOON. WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE SCENE TO FILM FOR THIS SERIES?
VEGAS It has to be the hot-air balloon because I don’t like heights. I really wasn’t great at looking over the side. Emilia loved the whole experience, though, and was almost hanging off with one arm.
FOX Yes, we were all thinking it was the best day of our lives being in a hot-air balloon on this beautiful day – but poor Johnny was cowering in the bottom of the basket.
EMILIA, WHAT WAS IT LIKE DOING COMEDY AFTER Silent Witness?
FOX The two shows are complete opposites. Because I’ve been doing Silent Witness for so long, people think I just stick with drama, but I’ve done bits on Saturday Night Takeaway and Inside No. 9. It is lovely now to do a whole series and really get into a character, especially one as awful as Penny.
WHAT WERE YOUR OWN FAMILY HOLIDAYS LIKE AS CHILDREN?
FOX My parents [actors Edward Fox and Joanna David] have never liked travelling abroad so we’ve been going to Dorset for about 40 years. We have a holiday home where nothing has changed.
VEGAS We went to Butlin’s until my dad got laid off and then I went on a charity holiday for deprived children. It was at a youth hostel in the middle of Wales and it was me and Britain’s hardest kids – it was horrendous. We never did foreign travel. My brother told me it was because I was adopted and my parents couldn’t get a passport for me. I believed him!
HAPPY CAMPERS? JOHNNY VEGAS AND NIKY WARDLEY AS NEIL AND FIONA RIVALS: EMILA FOX AND ADAM JAMES AS PENNY AND HER HUSBAND ROBERT
PARK LIFE: FIONA AND NEIL WITH SON LITTLE NEIL (HARVEY CHAISTY)