The arrival of new hotel guest Gloria in Benidorm this week (ITV, Friday, 9pm) is potentially bad news for the loving relationship between transvestite barman Lesley and his beauty therapist son, Liam.
Gloria, played by former Coronation Street and Emmerdale star Denise Black, immediately tries to drive a wedge between the loving father and son by offering money to Liam to return to Britain with her…
‘Lesley’s outraged at Gloria’s bribery tactics,’ says Tim Healy who plays Lesley. ‘He has a great relationship with his son, but Gloria thinks Lesley’s a bad influence because he dresses up as a woman so she’s really rude to him. At one point she tells him he looks like a melting clown! But Gloria being vile just brings Lesley and Liam closer together.
‘I’d met Denise Black before when my ex wife Denise was in Coronation Street, but we’d never worked together before. We had some fun times filming our scenes.’
Tim’s still as enthusiastic as ever to play the lovable Geordie transvestite, which of course means wearing lovely dresses and outfits on the Spanish set.
‘There have been some corkers this series, especially when Lesley is in Neptunes nightclub,’ laughs Tim. ‘Every time we do Neptunes scenes people think: “Oh they’re having such a great time there!” But what they don’t realise is it’s often 7 O’Clock in the morning! There’s no air conditioning and I’m in a wig! So it can be really hard work!
‘I’ve got very attached to Lesley’s wig, though! In March when we first start filming it’s very useful for keeping my head warm in the cold mornings. Then, as the shoot moves to the summer it does become hard work because it’s really hot under there!
‘Lesley has more flamboyant wigs this time – much longer and curlier. And I’ve got a Bet Lynch one, like a beehive. That was so heavy, I had a stiff neck at the end of the day.’
Tim says holidaymakers in Benidorm are always really nice to him when the series is filming, but they tend to say the same thing time and again.
‘I’ve had the comment: “I didn’t recognise you without your wig on” said to me thousands and thousands of times. They think it’s the first time anybody’s said it to me! I always reply: ‘I’ve never heard that one before!’ But it’s all very pleasant banter. They’re on holiday and all they want to say is ‘look who I met on holiday!’ They’re Benidorm fans and I put myself in the position so I’m very flattered really. It’s easier that I’ve always played likeable characters.’