Last summer I visited the set of Benidorm and caught up with Tony Maudsley and Adam Gillen who have been reunited after a series apart.
If ever two people were meant to work together, it’s Tony Maudsley and Adam Gillen who play Kenneth and Liam, arguably Benidorm’s most loveable couple.
Arriving into Benidorm at the same time, Adam took a break from Benidorm last year and sadly didn’t appear in series eight – or so we thought! In the wonderful series finale, Liam returned from Madrid to pay his father Les/Lesley a surprise visit and was also reunited with Blow N Go partner in crime Liam.
I’m pleased to confirm that this relationship, which was so sorely missed last year, is back for good and here’s what Tony and Adam had to say about the new series of Benidorm when I caught up with them at the Solana…
So Kenneth and Liam are reunited…
Tony Maudsley: Quite right, too. I missed him last year. Wasn’t the same without him.
The last episode was quite emotional.
TM: Do you know who made that episode emotional? Tim Healy. He was brilliant, he was looking at others as Lesley, with a face like a jacket potato. He had tears in his eyes watching Liam arrive back. It was the most beautiful thing. It made me cry when we were singing that song.
Adam Gillen: It was beautiful. It was him being a brilliant actor.
Do you sing much at Neptunes together this series?
TM: No, I don’t think we do.
AG: I love singing at Neptunes. It’s fun. The first time I did it, I was absolutely terrified. I didn’t sleep the night before. But it’s like a badge of honour when you first do it.
TM: I definitely don’t sing this year. Do you?
AG: No I don’t think so.
You’re not going to leave again though are you?
AG: I don’t think so. I love it here. This has been my favourite year. It’s probably because I wasn’t here last year that I appreciate it more. I forgot how much fun it is and how wonderful everyone is and what a joy and gift of a part and job it is.
How’s Liam fitting in to the hairdressers?
AG: Good, he’s found his feet.
TM: He’s a bit more grown up isn’t he?
AG: Yeah, he’s more grown up, a bit more on top of things. A bit more skilled with the scissors and the perming irons.
TM: He’s got a grown-up beard this time. He’s been through puberty while he’s been away.
AG: I thought it was time. I’m 30 years old.
TM: It’s all change at Blow N Go though because last year it was me and Troy, so that was the new element. But now it’s me, Troy and Liam, so there’s split decisions and there are sides to be taken.
AG: That’s an interesting dynamic as well to have Troy there as the superboss.
TM: And we’ve also got batty Jacqueline there too, who bizarrely is the voice of reason sometimes.
AG: After she’s had three glasses of cava after breakfast!
TM: It’s like a little soap opera of its own in Blow N Go at the moment. It used to be just me and Adam but now there’s four of us.
AG: I like it.
TM: I like it, too.
Which guest stars have you filmed with?
TM: Ooh… Nigel Havers! We had such a laugh with him, didn’t we? Telling us all his dirty secrets from the seventies! He was such a good laugh.
AG: He’s so chilled and cool…
TM: He’s so posh.
AG: We thought he’d be snooty but he wasn’t.
TM: He was so much fun and he found Benidorm hilarious. He went for a walk along the front and came back and said “I couldn’t believe it, there was a man with a bucket of chips. Another man had chicken in his hand.” He probably just walked past KFC! I want him to come back. I want him to be a regular. He plays a dentist, really conniving and smooth.
AG: Very smooth and slick.
TM: The storyline is, that Herbert who died left me his false teeth in his will so I’m furious and Nigel Havers plays this dentist who’s offering to buy them from me for quite a big amount of money, so we’re suspicious about why.
AG: Then we realise he wants them because there’s gold in the teeth.
TM: Yeah there’s gold that he thinks we don’t know about. But we only find out because we smash them on the floor when I have a fight with him.
We rechristened him Niggle Quavers. Cos when we go to lunch, there’s a guy who takes a sort of register and he came over to me and pointed to Nigel’s name and said, ‘Niggle?’ So we called him Niggle Quavers after that.
So you two become flatmates in this new series?
TM: We do.
TM: Then we have a big fall out and then we get back together. It’s like Gone With The Wind. But they haven’t done any scenes in our flat yet. Series 10!
AG: Apparently it’s a vile place. We fall out and get back together about four times. It’s a very tumultuous relationship.
TM: Why did they fall out? Because I was leaving disgusting things in the flat wasn’t it?
AM: Because you had pizza boxes down the side of your bed.
TM: And tissues!
AG: And some fried chicken on the corner of the bath because you were eating it on the toilet.
TM: There was something about tissues, but I can’t remember what that was about. It’s highly suggestive.
AG: Hmm, well. Make your own mind up about that!
TM: I remember that from the read-through. Crispy tissues. (Laughs)
Is it nice to have Shelley back?
AG: It’s lovely to see Sam again. We’re just really good pals. It’s more of a little brother and big sister relationship these days.
TM: It’s funny because you speak to one character in one series and then don’t speak to them again for another three. It’s lovely to have Shelley back because me, Adam and Shelley all started Benidorm together in the same series. We’ve missed her. It’s lovely to have her back.
What’s Liam’s relationship like with his dad in the first four episodes?
AG: We haven’t spoken that much to each other, we’re just working alongside each other in the hotel. Until Tim sadly came ill we were about to have a lot of interaction. Obviously Liam loves his dad and always will. I rang him (Tim Healy) up yesterday because it was Father’s Day.
Is Kenneth trying to set up Jaqueline and Eddie?
TM: Yeah, the three of us are really.
AG: We innocently go to a drinks party in an attempt to set them up and she thinks it’s a threesome or something. I can’t remember.
TM: We all mother her a little bit because it’s two years now since Donald died. We think it’s time for her to spread her wings again but she’s abit nervous. And she’s feeling a bit old and a bit frumpy so the three of us are like “Come on!”, trying to pull her back into the wilderness. It’s quite lovely really.
And you film some scenes with Ryan (Phil Dunster)?
TM: Yeah, that was great. Kenneth’s got a new friend. He (Adam) was so jealous.
AG: I wasn’t jealous!
TM: We had this lovely actor come in, a fabulous actor.
AG: He was alright.
TM: It was like I was having an affair.
AG: I was not!
TM: You were sulking in the background!
AG: You did it on purpose. You were scoring points off me.
TM: He was great. He was lovely.
Tony, we hear you had quite the experience the other week with a fan?
TM: I’d been out with Derren and some very drunk fan came up to us in this bar and kept coming up to me saying “I want a hug.” By the third hug I said “OK no more.” He said, “Please one more photograph.” I said “OK, one more and you leave me alone.”
So he comes towards me with his camera in one hand and a pint of beer in his other and just as he came towards me he slipped and his fingers went straight into my eye! My eye started bleeding and Derren started screaming “Oh my God, Oh my God! We’ve got to get you to hospital!”
The guy, meanwhile, was still on the floor with his pint in tact. He tried to save himself by grabbing my eye socket! It was terrible. I said to Derren, I’m not going to a Spanish hospital because they always say come back Monday. So we completed our night out and I woke up the next morning and my eye was completely red there was no white left in my eye.
Simon, our producer, insisted I go to hospital. It was a good job because he’d cut my eyeball. And they found some crap in my eye so I just hoped he hadn’t just been to the loo before he did it. Whatever they pulled from my eye had come from his fingernail. So that week when I’m doing scenes with Phil Dunster I had to wear sunglasses because my eyes were such a state.
It was a bit of a strange week. I had to have antibiotics in my eye to stop them getting infected and an anti-inflammatory to bring the colour back to it.
Have you been more cautious around fans since that happened?
TM: I am yeah. I’m a bit jumpy. If you choose to go into that arena, you’re putting yourself out there and you can’t gauge how drunk they are. This is Benidorm. And they’re very, very drunk.
Me and Derren had only just come out so we had our wits about us. It could have been much worse. I am more jumpy now especially when they start grabbing you. I don’t let them. I make them stop. “Don’t touch me!”
It might come across as a bit rude but I’m protecting my face.
How have you found the reaction in Benidorm to Liam being back?
AG: With the fans? It’s been really really lovely. My character’s quite timid, I suppose in many ways, people are more gentle with me. I don’t get people piling on me, like they pile on Tony. Everyone’s been really warm and generous about me being back.
TM: Even when they’re being physical, they’re still being lovely. They’re just boisterous with me. They always are. At a stag party last year they just piled on me and pushed me to the floor.
In the meantime, I’ve twisted my knee and one of the runners is saying “Get off him!” And there’s me with ten stags on me! You have to be a little cautious while maintaining the friendliness. The more the show goes on the level of that goes up and up. The crew are good when we go out though they look after us.
Benidorm returns Wednesday 1st March at 9pm on ITV