‘I really missed the Benidorm gang!’ says Johnny Vegas on returning to ITV’s comedy

Johnny Vegas is back in Benidorm on Friday January 16 (ITV, 9pm), playing quiz king and mummy’s boy The Oracle. Here, Johnny reveals why he’s returned to ITV’s hit comedy…

We last saw The Oracle (aka Geoff Maltby) when he left Benidorm in 2010. Now he’s back at the Solana, holidaying with his elderly mum Noreen (Elise Kelly). What made you want to come back?
“I really missed being involved with the Benidorm gang so I loved being back after four years. It was initially strange – it was like, ‘Where did those four years go?’ But it’s lovely being reunited with so many friends.”

So is The Oracle any different this time around?
“Things have changed a bit. He’s got a young son and a mail-order bride! His mother’s on to the bride, though, knowing she’s out to exploit her son. He just sees it as his mother not wanting him to be happy – he’s quick to blame her for everything that goes wrong in his life.”

We first see The Oracle when he and Noreen enter a quiz and darts competition at Neptune’s. Do things go well for the self-proclaimed quiz king?
“He’s built up this myth of who he is in his own mind, but to everyone else he’s an arrogant idiot. He’s acquired lots of information, but has zero knowledge and he’s emotionally arrested. When he lets his guard down, he’s far more likeable, but it’s very rare he reveals himself that way.”

How would you describe the relationship between mum and son? He still calls her his ‘PA’ doesn’t he?
“She’s often killing him with kindness by allowing him to get away with the way he behaves so she’s the buffer that stops him taking a long hard look at himself. He’s addicted to his relationship with his mother. Like any addiction, it’s about denial. He’s in denial that his life hasn’t gone to plan, and he’s loathe to admit his dependency on Noreen.”

Do you think he’ll ever make the break from his mum?
“He’d be lost without her. I love doing scenes with Elsie Kelly as Noreen. I’ve got a very nice chemistry with her.”    

Johnny comes back into Benidorm on Friday 16 January, 9pm, ITV