Ever since the Maltby family rocked up in Benidorm, holidaying together at the Solana for the first time, there’s been nothing but stress for elderly Noreen and her middle-aged kids Geoff and Pauline.
Their holiday traumas are set to continue in Benidorm on Monday (ITV, 9pm), thanks to the fact the ex-alcoholic Pauline has begun drinking again and is now out of control. She starts with an early morning binge by the pool, but chooses the wrong buddy to booze with.
“She’s fallen off the wagon spectacularly,” said Selina Griffiths who’s back as Pauline after initially leaving in 2011. “In this episode, she meets young Jodie Dawson by the swimming pool bar and there’s a catastrophic misunderstanding. She’s so sozzled she assumes the little girl is an adult dwarf so tries to get a bemused Jodie to be her new drinking buddy. It’s comedy gold but there are dire consequences!”
When Jodie’s mum Sheron (Julie Graham) gets back to the pool and hears what’s been happening she explodes with anger.
“Sheron has a fierce temper so has no fear of expressing her feelings when she finds out that her child has supposedly been drinking all day!” said Selina. “Pauline’s family are at their wits’ end with her.”
Geoff (Johnny Vegas) sees no option but to stage a dramatic ‘intervention’ and he and his mum (Elsie Kelly) persuade the Dawson clan plus a few of the Solana staff to have an Oprah-style therapy session with Pauline so she can confess her drinking problems. Things don’t go as planned, of course.
“Pauline and Geoff are at each other’s throats the whole time, bickering away,” said Selina, who also starred in BBC1’s Cranford. “They’re like a couple of kids sniping all the time, and their mum is quite oblivious to the problems. There’ll never be a truce in their family all the time Pauline drinks so much!”
Retuning to Benidorm to film this eighth series has been a wonderful experience, revealed Selina: “It’s great. It’s so lovely to come back to the job. It took a bit of getting used to because the crew’s different and there are new cast members, so I did have to adjust.
“Doing so many drunk scenes as Pauline can be hard. It takes much more concentration than doing anything else and funnily enough one of the scenes where she had to be quite drunk it was freezing. Of course the whole thing about being drunk is the person being very relaxed, but it’s difficult to look that way when you’re sitting there turning purple in a swimsuit. But it’s great fun acting drunk because you don’t get to do it that often.
“It’s also really funny to be working so closely with Johnny Vegas. It’s so difficult to keep a straight face when he’s in a scene with you, but thankfully I was clever and did a couple of scenes with my sunglasses on. It meant when I was on the sunbeds I wasn’t looking straight at Johnny. That made it much easier for me not to laugh. You have these little tricks up your sleeves when you do comedy.”
Benidorm continues on ITV on Monday at 9pm