Sheila Reid: ‘Leaving Benidorm was the right decision’

Britain’s most foul-mouthed granny, Madge Harvey, will be saying adios to Benidorm for good in this Friday’s episode of the ITV comedy. And leaving the show after eight years has been very emotional for Sheila Reid.

Describing her screen family’s last day on the Spanish set, Sheila says: “It was unbelievable. We came onto the set, and the crew were all wearing T-shirts they had had specially printed. On the front they read, ‘Adios, Los Garvos.’ Then they turned round, and on their backs it said, “We’ll miss you.” It was so emotional, we couldn’t speak. It was an incredibly moving way to bid farewell.

“Of course it was difficult. Our family was so much of a unit, but it felt like a communal decision to go. Things move on, and life continues in other directions. I really believe in looking forward and not looking backwards. It was the right decision.”

This Friday’s episode of Benidorm sees Madge hear some amazing news from eccentric Californian lawyer Buck A Roo (Leslie Jordan). She’s inherited millions from a deceased secret family member in Las Vegas and Mr A Roo invites Madge, Janice, Mick and Michael out to America to claim their cash….

Sheila knows exactly why Madge has proved so popular with Benidorm viewers despite her acid tongue and sometimes shocking foul mouth: ‘It’s because she says what she thinks,’ she says. ‘She’s not afraid to be shocking or to be who she really is. She could be gentler, but she’s had a tough life and says that things we’d all love to say if we were brave enough. Also, young people love to hear an older person being so shocking!

“The Garveys seem such a real family – there’s such a connection between us all. However irritated they get, the love between them is absolutely enduring. Madge would kill for any of her family. That comes over, and viewers really like to see that.”

Benidorm is shown every Friday, ITV, 9pm.