About four or five years ago there were two sit-coms that I avoided a bit like the plague. I cringed every time I saw a trailer for Mrs Brown’s Boys and I steered well clear of ever watching ITV1’s Benidorm.
I then happen to catch Benidorm one time because nothing else better was on, and I found myself really enjoying it to my great surprise. It was the one where the utterly brilliant Johnny Vegas playing ‘The Oracle’/Geoff Maltby, made a glorious comeback with his hilarious mother Noreen Maltby(Elsie Kelly). The on-screen chemistry that these two comedy performers had together was a sheer delight to watch.
I have therefore now come full circle regarding this show because I get what it is. I no longer hold any ill-founded cultural snobbery towards it because the vulgarity makes me smile, the silliness makes me laugh and the acting is first-rate.
We are now two episodes into series nine and so far it shows no signs of lessening in terms of its quality. Given how many series there have been, then it is a great credit to creator and writer Derren Litten, that it doesn’t feel like a tired show that has seen better days. New characters and old ones making comebacks are what breathes new life into it.
The cameo guest appearances by famous actors and actresses is probably the finest feature of this sit-com. Last series we saw the legendary actor John Challis(Boycie), play the role of Monty, who was an old flame of Ms Joyce Temple Savage’s(Sherrie Hewson). Already in just two episodes of this new series we have had a guest appearance by Nigel Havers who played an amusing dentist who was obsessed with getting his hands on a set of very valuable false teeth. For Brookside fans out there Billy Corkshill’s ex-wife has turned up in the shape of actress Kate Fitzgerald. Kate is playing a character called Loretta, a man-eating cougar granny. The guest appearances help punctuate the show and certainly give a post-modern edge to it with regards to intertextuality.
In terms of storylines, so far in this new series we have seen the return of the likeable and funny Dawson family. Bobby Knutt as Eddie Dawson is a perpetually amusing character. The comedy highlight so far is him being dressed like a fat Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat, due to his clothes having gone missing. The star of the show though for me is young actress Honor Kneafsey who plays Jodie Dawson, She is a wonderful performer who makes me chuckle in almost every scene that she appears in.
Another brilliant comedy character is the ever present Kenneth Du Beke, who is played majestically camp by actor Tony Maudsley. So far this series we have seen him sell a set of false teeth for over a grand and in this week’s show he launched his own mini-cab business, all in the most camp and innuendo filled way of course. Being such a larger than life character, then it is essential to the show’s continued success that he remains in it.
Benidorm is a funny, good easy watch if you accept what it is, for what it is. It is never going to be as trendy or alternative as say the highly successful Peep Show is on Channel Four, but it doesn’t try to be either. Furthermore, it is never going to be as funny as Only Fools and Horses is, but then again what is? It also doesn’t try too hard to be funny so the writing needs praising for this. Now I have stopped being a cultural snob then this show just makes me smile and chuckle anytime that I watch it. This is a sit-com that deserves to be continually celebrated and one without-a-shadow-of-doubt, that deserves to be declared a big TRIUMPH! 4/5.