Summer may seem a long way off, but TV’s most eccentric holidaymakers are back at the Solana this week to soak up the sun in a fifth series of the ITV1 comedy Benidorm.

The new run sees Sherrie Hewson join the cast as exacting new hotel manager Joyce Temple-Savage, while swinger Donald (Kenny Ireland) returns from the dead, miserable Madge (Sheila Reid) makes a surprise announcement and cynical Gavin (Hugh Sachs) is visiting his friend Kenneth (Tony Maudsley), who now runs a salon at the Solana.

TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with Hugh Sachs to find out more…

I love the fact that Gavin is so emotional and easily irritated… He’d like just to be on a sunlounger enjoying himself, but he gets sidetracked by all these bizarre people. This time, his partner Troy has stayed at home and, when Gavin mistakenly thinks he’s been dumped, he has a one-night stand.

Sherrie Hewson is brilliant… Her character Joyce tries to get a four-star rating for the hotel and keeps mistaking the guests for hotel inspectors. Sherrie was one of the reasons I became an actor, because I saw her in a play with Vanessa Redgrave in Manchester and she was amazing. I was so excited to meet her.

We’ve got some great guest stars in this series… Kate O’Mara, David Bradley, Shaun Dooley, Siobhan Redmond and Matthew Kelly, who was fantastic as a judge at a dance competition.

Doing the dance contest scenes was terrifying… Gavin does the paso doble with the cape, and he has to be good at it, so I was very nervous. I did ballroom dancing when I was at drama school, and it was the only time girls threw themselves at me. I also have to sing For Once in My Life down the phone to Tony as an apology, but I won’t be recording an album.

ITV took a risk with Benidorm and the stars aligned… The writing is very truthful and we really show how holidays can be a pressure cooker for people. It also helped that, apart from Johnny Vegas, none of us was that well-known, so the viewers could buy into who we were playing.

It is extraordinary getting recognised… It is lovely to be in something people have seen, and they usually say the most wonderful things. Sometimes, however, I get groups of children trying to show off to their mates by screaming ‘Benidorm!’ at me, so I have to run into a shop to escape.

I’d love to appear in Downton Abbey… Janine Duvitski, who plays Jacqueline, and I joke with Siobhan Finneran, who plays Janice, that we could join Downton as an aunt and her eccentric nephew, and just throw our coats at Siobhan’s character Miss O’Brien as we came in. Siobhan seemed keen, so she might suggest it.

The new series of Benidorm begins on ITV1 on Friday, February 24