Johnny Vegas talks about being back in Benidorm which can be seen Monday nights at 9pm on ITV.
It’s the first year Geoff, Noreen and Pauline have been in Benidorm together, what’s that like?
It’s lovely having that dynamic of the squabbling kids. It’s the co-dependency that only breeds dysfunctional behaviour amongst them. Obviously Selina and myself haven’t played opposite each other up until now but it’s been lovely. I think having Pauline around takes the pressure off Noreen a bit too. After everything that happened in the lift last series he’s mellowed with her a bit this Summer. He’s got his sister to focus all that venom on instead. What’s genuinely great is nothing has to be forced on camera because we have got such a good chemistry off screen.
How do Geoff and Pauline get on?
Well they don’t! But it always takes a bit of a crisis to bring the best out in Geoff. This series Pauline falls off the wagon and there is some compassion there as Geoff tries to help – it’s short lived, even the intervention they stage ends up in a barney. Geoff is very quick to defend her though, it’s one of those cases where he’s allowed to tell her off but no one else can. Let me tell you, Selina is so good it’s made Elsie up her game.
What makes you keep coming back to this series?
When I first started I wondered whether people would suspend belief about the same people coming on holiday to the same place year after year, but fans are more than happy to let it go. Geoff and Noreen are creatures of habit, so wheras I, personally, like to try different places all the time, they like going back to what’s familiar to them, and there are a lot of people like that. I just love it because everyone can identify with someone in the show, and I just have so much fun.
What’s it like playing opposite Selina when she has to act drunk all the time?
What’s interesting is that she doesn’t actually drink in real life. The first scene we filmed together both Geoff and Pauline are supposed to be drunk, now I approach it from a method point of view having had years of experience drinking, and I can tell you that acting drunk is very difficult. It’s something I really struggle with but you would think that I could drop into it easily. So how Selina does it with no reference point is incredible. There’s this great scene where she has to sit back in her chair and almost falls off it, she sits up and looks around as if she’s thinking, ‘I’m fine’ as if no one saw it. But I know from experience that when you’re drunk you think to yourself, ‘yep, I got away with that’, but then you turn around and everyone is going, ‘he’s rat-arsed’.
Do you get on well with Elsie who plays Noreen?
Yeah, she’s brilliant. One year Elsie got sun stroke and I stole a big arrangement of flowers from a hotel reception. I brought them up to her and found out two weeks later that she was still watering them - they were plastic! Elsie’s husband turned up and she was like, ‘oh they have kept really well’. I got in trouble recently on Twtter for blaming Elsie for breaking my foot but I never actually said it was her. All I said was that somebody has taken me out during bowling and it got round that it was Elsie, which speaks volumes about our relationship that they immediately assumed it was her!
So how did you break your foot?
I stayed sober and stood up quick. Ordinarily I’ve got that natural sway! It had little impact on filming, but as it happened the way filming was scheduled I did have chance to rest it. The first day back might involve a lot of scenes they can’t actually use because of my walk, it looked like I should have been accompanied by a brass instrument!.
Is there any romance for Geoff this series?
Ionella makes an appearance again this Summer. She’s got everything she wanted – rich husband and the life that goes with it. They end up having a heart to heart and she remembers what he’s got with his family, he tries to talk her into coming home with him. We have a bit of a cliffhanger at the airport, ‘will they, won’t they?’.
Do you get mobbed by fans whilst filming?
It’s a strange experience filming in Benidorm, I always say it’s like a unique Cannes Film Festival. There’s no other job that I have worked on on where you are mobbed on a daily basis and pulls the crowds to our set whilst working. It’s tricky if I want to walk around which is why I tend to live outside of Benidorm with the pensioners, I live the quiet life nowadays!