Just one of the reasons why Benidorm is still so successful nine series in, is because of the show’s ability to introduce great new characters and Kate Fitzgerald is the latest person to join the cast as Sheron’s mother, Loretta.
When I flew out to Benidorm last summer to visit the set of Benidorm and speak to the show’s cast, one person I was keen to speak to was former Brookside actress Kate Fitzgerald who would be joining the series full-time as Sheron Dawson’s mother.
What is she like? What sort of things does she get up to? There was only one person who could answer those questions and that’s Kate herself, so sitting by the pool in the Solana she spilled the beans to me about her character Loretta.
Here’s what she had to say…
What’s it like to join Benidorm?
It’s great! To begin with it’s a fabulous part. I’m playing Loretta, who’s the grandmother. She’s Sheron’s mum and she’s just a fabulous woman. It’s a gift of a part really, she just doesn’t care.
She couldn’t care less about convention or about the way she’s supposed to behave or about the way she’s supposed to dress, she just does what she wants to do and carries on regardless and it’s so freeing.
It gives you a great sense of freedom because you can just do all the things that you can’t really do in life that the character does so it’s smashing.
Was it quite daunting to join such a well established show?
There’s always a bit of a worry about coming into a very successful long running drama because obviously you’re coming into a company where people have bonded for a long time but it’s been great, they’ve made it so welcoming and so easy, they’re a really nice group of people to walk into and not just the actors, every department
There are people in different departments who’ve been here since year one and it’s great because everybody’s so enthusiastic about it and very welcoming and it’s been smashing and I love the programme, I was a fan anyway and it happened at very short notice so I’m still pinching myself.
It sounds like she gets some very good scenes.
Yeah, she’s a bit of a man-eater. She behaves disgracefully and enjoys herself. And this is my first time in Benidorm as well in real life and I did have certain preconceptions about it and I don’t really know why because all the people I know, like my mum’s next door neighbours in Liverpool, for years they’ve come to Benidorm and they loved it but I don’t know what I thought it was going to be, but I love it too.
In a way, Loretta’s kind of a reflection of the place because I love the place because its so non judgmental. It’s just people wanting to have a good time and enjoy themselves without harming anybody else and just going for it and I really love that spirit and she kind of fits into the place fabulously because that’s her.
How does Loretta dress?
I think she dresses marvellously. To the outside world, she might seem to dress without taking her years into consideration. It’s not the normal wardrobe that your average northern woman of her age would bring on holiday with them.
She likes to show off her figure and her flesh a bit more than might be conventional for women of her age.
How does she get on with Sheron?
Obviously there’s a deep love there and I suspect there have been times in Sheron’s life where she wishes she’d had a mum who stayed at home and knitted and instead she’s had a mum who’s told her how to put eye shadow on and all of that, but I think there’s lots of ways that Sheron kind of admires her mum and she always sticks up for her.
I get the feeling there’s a kind of strength there between the two women. Sheron’s been slightly outnumbered before in a way and since the last series Eddie’s gone to live with them so to have her mum turn up there’s a certain amount of female solidarity there as well and I think she’s quite amazed at some of her mum’s goings on but I think at the same time she’s quite admiring of them as well.
I think Loretta’s probably been one of those mum’s that’s not always been there when you get home from school to make your tea for you but at the same time there’s been mad excitement at times that you wouldn’t get from other mums. I think it’s the same with the grandchildren as well.
I get the feeling Loretta’s the type of grandma that she might not always send the birthday card in time but then when she does turn up there’s something comes along that they’ve been told they absolutely cannot have that’s not suitable for children their ages and then Loretta turns up and gives them two.
What about Billy? How does she get on with him?
I would say that from Billy’s point of view he probably thinks he’s got the mother in law from hell and it doesn’t help that these two are constantly winding each other up because they do behave somewhat childishly with each other at times.
It’s more strong female energy I think and Sheron quite enjoys having that there and I think Sheron sometimes gets quite amused when Loretta actually gets one over on him.
Although she’s not very happy when I return without Jodie. I actually think Loretta wanted to bring her back with her and Jodie was having none of it and I also think there was no way Loretta was hanging about to look after her and miss part of her holiday. So she’s not happy at all, she’s devastated.
It is quite shocking in a way that she’s come back without her although she’s very well looked after her and according to the script Loretta did try to get her back with her but she wasn’t coming and I think Loretta just wasn’t wasting any more of her holiday time.
Benidorm returns Wednesday 1st March at 9pm on ITV