HOW HAS THE WHOLE BENIDORM EXPERIENCE BEEN FOR YOU?
It’s been amazing. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a dream job for many reasons. The kind of show it is, the people we work with, the family we’ve become, the crew, the cast... it’s a perfect, dream work environment. Every time we get together it’s like a four-month Christmas gathering with family that you want to be with. It’s great, great fun.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT PLAYING MATEO THAT YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOY?
He’s just fun to play. I’ve got great scenes. He’s a lothario, he flirts and chats all the women up, but 90% of the time fails. There’s a real sort of warmness to the character that is lovely to play. In this last series, it’s just line after line that’s priceless, and it’s just a joy to read a script and get to say them. I’ve always loved the fact that Mateo gets to do these strange things, from bullfighting to dressing up as a woman, through horseriding, to running through the streets. He has different fun things to do.
DO YOU ENJOY LEARNING NEW SKILLS?
I quite enjoy having a little job of two weeks preparing something, whether it’s going to flamenco class or horseriding lessons. The riding scene in the last episode was probably on the screen for about seven seconds, but it took hours and hours and hours to film because there were explosions and I had to jump over a barrel and stuff.
IT DID LOOK KIND OF HAIRY
It was petrifying! I’d never ridden properly. It was shot at 3am in the pitch black on narrow paths. You’re not in control - the horse is, and if he wants to throw you off, he will. Thankfully he didn’t and I’m very grateful. But I enjoyed the riding lessons and I think I’ll keep it up a bit once I’m back in Spain. It’s a nice way to unwind after 12 hours of filming.
IS IT A GOOD SKILL TO HAVE AS AN ACTOR?
It is, but I’m only at a basic level. I have a lot of friends who say they are good riders, but if you say that and you’re on a job, you’re expected to gallop and that can be very, very dangerous. I would never want to lie about anything like that. But anything you can learn adds to things you can bring to other work later on.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE STORYLINE OF THE PAST SERIES?
I’m a huge fan of Elsie Kelly and Johnny Vegas - Noreen and the Oracle. I loved that little storyline, that episode where they’re stuck in a lift for most of the day. It’s so bittersweet and so lovely because it’s funny but really, really moving. They performed it beautifully. And of course, I loved my whole storyline with Mateo’s mother-in-law.
MATEO GOT ON A BUS TO MADRID IN THE FINAL EPISODE - IS THAT THE LAST WE’LL SEE OF HIM?
No, he’s got a return ticket! I think it’s great, it’s part of the storyline and makes for a beautiful ending, but no, he’ll be back. He’ll probably be chased out of Madrid by 50 husbands, if not 50 women. They’ll banish him from Madrid and he’ll be crawling back to that hotel in Benidorm.
IS THERE A DREAM ROLE YOU’D LIKE TO TACKLE?
One of my favourite parts is John Proctor in The Crucible.
THAT COULDN’T BE FURTHER REMOVED FROM BENIDORM, COULD IT?
Absolutely not. It’s a powerful play because it’s so relevant. Arthur Miller wrote it in the 1950s when artists in America were being persecuted. It’s one of the few plays that I always end up fuming about when I’m sitting in the audience, I get so angry and emotional about it.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY HOLLYWOOD?
Part of me would, yes. The difference with Hollywood now is that a lot of the shows come over here to hold auditions now. But we have really, really good work over here, in comedy, drama and in the theatre, so there isn’t a lack of high-quality work. I think people who go to Hollywood have bigger dreams and bigger ambitions. I’m not sure I would have the energy, because it does take a lot of commitment. But I’d love to do a Mission: Impossible or a James Bond, a real action film, just to do all those stunts. It’s a very boy thing to do isn’t it?
WHAT ELSE IS IN THE PIPELINE FOR YOU?
I can’t tell you what it is, but I think I’m going to do a film, just before I go off and do the next Benidorm. It’s a big American movie, and it’s a nice little part that fits in because I start in five weeks for Benidorm.
IT NEVER STOPS, DOES IT?
It’s come around so quickly. I’ve just been in the theatre all November to the beginning of January, and then I took January off. You need to learn to take time out - especially because I’m a bit older now. With Benidorm, it’s six days a week, 12 hours a day, and although you’re in the sun and having a great time, you are there to work, trying to produce something that has to be really good, so you’re constantly focused. You never switch off.
Benidorm Series 7 is out on DVD now