Benidorm Live heads to Manchester in November 2018

Sherrie Hewson, as 'Joyce Temple-Savage', and Company in Benidorm Live
Photo: Paul Coltas

Sherrie Hewson, as 'Joyce Temple-Savage', and Company in Benidorm Live Photo: Paul Coltas - Credit: Archant

Sherrie Hewson and Tony Maudsley tell us what fun is in store for fans of TV’s Benidorm when it comes to Manchester Palace Theatre on November 26 2018

Tony Maudsley, as 'Kenneth'.
Credit: Paul Coltas

Tony Maudsley, as 'Kenneth'. Credit: Paul Coltas - Credit: Archant

I have never been more glad of my tape recorder than when meeting with Sherrie Hewson and Tony Maudsley to talk about bringing smash hit TV show Benidorm to the stage, at last, following ten series of chaotic fun and games on the airwaves. They both talk nineteen to the dozen, talk over one another, finish each other’s sentences and wander off on (very entertaining) tangents every other sentence…and it’s brilliant!

Benidorm Live has brought the entire TV cast to the stage in a specially written storyline, a fact that will delight fans, but must have been incredibly difficult to organise.

Tricia Adele-Turner 'Sophie' and Company.
Credit: Paul Coltas

Tricia Adele-Turner 'Sophie' and Company. Credit: Paul Coltas - Credit: Archant

‘It took a while;’ says Tony, ‘we only knew this was going to happen when we came back from filming the show. Some actors line up jobs for that time, so it didn’t happen by magic.’

‘What happened was, we got booked up for the first half [of the tour] but then it started to get so big that they just carried on booking, and in fact they would have just gone on!’ adds Sherrie. ‘It would have gone on longer than eight months, but we have to stop as we need to start filming for TV again!’

The series is normally filmed between March and June, but will start a little later this year, much to the relief of Sherrie and Tony.

‘It’s better for us as it means we can get in the pool,’ says Tony, ‘None of the pools are heated and it’s cold in March!’

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‘It’s been over a year in the planning,’ says Sherrie. ‘It’s something Derren [Litten, the writer} has wanted to do for a long long time,’ Tony interjects. ‘I remember talking about it a year last January,’ Sherrie continues, ‘and then when we went out in March he was talking about it all the time.’ Tony butts in: ‘At one time he was talking about doing a Benidorm pantomime, wasn’t he, as a lot of us go off and do pantomime, so we said “well why don’t we all do one?” and that grew this idea and what he’s written now is basically the next episode from where the TV shows finished this year, but with all bells and whistles. It’s got dance routines – I dance in this you know – there’s songs (you can’t have Benidorm without lots of party songs!)’

‘And then the second half is all in Neptunes, so the audience become as though they’re in Neptunes cabaret bar…’ adds Sherrie, before Tony takes off again ‘So the audience all become part of the show.’ ‘Yes, they come up on stage and do karaoke, with a member of the cast,’ Sherrie finishes. ‘So the whole second half is just the audience and us, and I’ve never heard of that.’

‘He’s never written for stage before, Derren,’ says Tony, ‘and it’s a very different thing and I wondered how he’s do it, but then when I read it I though this is possibly the best ever episode of Benidorm he’s ever written.’

If, like me, you have never seen the TV show, be assured that it won’t matter. It sounds hilarious, but I wondered if I might not ‘get it’ as it were. Will it appeal to people who don’t watch the TV series?

‘Oh yes,’ says Sherrie, ‘it’s fun, it’s a proper night out! It’s got our usual level of humour but there’s no smut! It’s a safe family friendly show.’

‘If you’ve never seen the show, it’s quite standalone,’ Tony tells me, ‘but for the fans, it slots in quite nicely with what they already know. There are new roles, new characters that we don’t know and the audience won’t know.’

‘Which makes it more like play than a variety show,’ adds Sherrie. ‘it’s not like you’ve got six people from a well-known show that just go on stage and be funny, we have a storyline and characters we interact with – hotel guests and such. But around this are musical numbers, with Asa Elliot, the in-house Neptune singer..and Janine Duvitski, who plays Janine, the swinger, of course.’

Tony jumps in: ‘She talks a lot about swinging, she’s got a ‘friend’ from the Swingers Association she talks about a lot, Gay Derek…’ Sherrie laughs: ‘That’s right, Gay Derek…he’s revealed!’ At this point I’m fairly sure we’re not discussing musical numbers any more and am even more keen to see the show and figure out what they’re talking about for myself.

‘We all love [Benidorm] so much,’ says Sherrie. ‘it’s been our lives for a long time. We all live out there together and we’re all family orientated, and a lot of shows say that, but we really are. The theatre tour has been a sell-out even months before we start and you think wow, that’s incredible! It’s a totally unique British comedy, set in a totally unique British environment – but when you go out there you realise that we’re actually quite tame!’

‘Derek always says that if he wrote what actually goes on out there we’d never get on telly!’ laughs Tony, and that, I think is the perfect place to close.

Benidorm plays at Palace Theatre Manchester from 26 November – 1 December

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