Benidorm’s Jake Canuso: ‘Mateo has botox and is made Solana manager!’

There’s more stupidity and slapstick in the new series of Benidorm that kicks off tonight (Jan 2, ITV, 9pm) but Solana staff Mateo and Lesley worry about their jobs when Hotel manageress Joyce has to make cutbacks. Jake Canuso spoke to What’s On TV on the Spanish set last summer and here he reveals more secrets about the latest series…

What’s new for Mateo this year in Benidorm?
“He’s pretty much the same. I know Mateo inside out now! I don’t even have to think about the accent any more. The series kicks off this time with a lot of staff being demoted, which comes from the top, so Les is being made a cleaner and Mateo is made a junior barman. It doesn’t go down well, and there’s a big plot against Joyce because everyone thinks she’s demoted them. But it turns out later in the series, when Joan Collins returns as Crystal Hennesssy Vass, that she’s got the most to do with it.”

The Garvey family are leaving the show…how does that happen?
“The first two episodes establish how the Garveys leave. It’s a great story and I love the way it all goes. We’ve got Leslie Jordan – the little guy from Will & Grace – who plays a lawyer who comes over America to tell the Garveys the good news. But he’s a crazy mad guy. Leslie’s had the best stories, he’s a real funny storyteller and we had a lot of fun with him on set.”

We’ve heard Mateo has botox this time around. Sounds hilarious?
“Yes episode three is about Blow & Go’s new botox clinic. Basically everyone keeps going into the salon and coming out very youthful, including Mateo. They did a lot of work on me, I had prosthetics on my forehead and all around my eyes so when I was smiling nothing moved and they pulled me with those clips. You can’t see anything because it’s really well done. There’s a whole storyline where basically Joyce notices that Mateo looks youthful and he’s obviously trying to deny it. And then it ends up all going wrong for her in the botox clinic.”

Mateo’s also set to become Solana manager for the day at. How does he do?
“It’s his big moment and he’s all suited and booted. He’s so chuffed about being made manager for the day, he takes it really seriously and tries to speak really properly but gets it all wrong. He says things like: ‘Furnish me with the keys of your room’. He thinks he’s really important and says: ‘I’m the manger of the hotel, top dog, there’s nobody higher, that’s me, big manager!’ on and on and on like that.”

Philip Olivier is back as Jason later in the series. Does Mateo have the big rivalry with him again?
“It’s the battle of the chests again! We have a pose off! We had a very homoerotic fight scene last time so I did a lot in the gym, as he’s about 12 years younger than me. As I soon as he arrived on set I got him straight back in a headlock! Crissy Rock comes back with a bang, too, as Janey York. She’s just legless that whole episode, hammered.”

What was it like to have Jonny Vegas back as The Oracle? It’s been nearly five years since he last appeared…
“We had a great relationship and have great scenes again this time starting in episode three. He’s such a great character. The Oracle still thinks he’s the king of the quiz, and he still calls his mum his PA! We’re at a point now where there have been so many characters over the years that have come and gone and it’s great that we can bring people back. The comedy is set in a holiday resort – so anyone can come back at any time. It’s nice to have people come back. Everything’s always left open. There’s nothing finite.”

Would you like to see Benidorm The Movie?
“The show’s writer Derren Litten isn’t sure it would work but I think it would cinematically. There’s also such a big fan base in the UK who’d love to see it happen, plus it also would bring in a new audience abroad. As a series it’s hard to take over to America, but as a film it’s much easier to promote to them and all the Americans who’ve seen the show are obsessed with it on YouTube.”

Benidorm begins on ITV, Friday January 2 at 9pm