This week sees Simon Greenall join the cast of Benidorm as Neville, Les’ mate who’s covering for him at the Solana.
As was well documented last year, Tim Healy who plays Les/Lesley in Benidorm was forced to take time off after sad being hospitalised due to ill health. Thankfully he’s fine now and will be appearing in the next series.
Before falling ill, Tim was able to film four out of the nine episodes and this week will be the first time without him in it.
During my visit to the set of Benidorm last year, I caught up with the series’ latest recruit Simon, to find out more about his character as well as what is was like joining the series.
Here’s what he had to say…
So, you’re joining the series as Neville?
Yes I’ve been dropped in the shallow end. I’m literally here straight off the plane. I’ve been here for 3 weeks so its all a bit confusing, but my character finds a lot of things confusing as well. So it is kind of useful.
He’s not the brightest. He’s a dumb Geordie.
Were you a fan of Benidorm before you got the part?
Yes I always thought it was really funny and I know a lot of the cast members so I watched it for that.
There is a genuine affection for the place as well which I’ve always quite admired, its not just “Isn’t it ghastly?”
What can you tell us about Neville?
He’s a friend of Les’s and he works in the Geordie bar in Benidorm but now he really likes working here at the hotel as it is quite a bit posher.
How does he get on with Joyce?
He can’t understand a word she says man! Being northern, he just defers to anyone posh as tell me what to do and I’ll do it.
What about Mateo? How does Neville get on with him?
He tries to steer me clear of Sam’s schemes but I always go along and end up getting duped.
Does he have much interaction with Les’ son Liam?
There is a little but mostly it’s a triangle with Matteo and Sam. He’s always got a scheme going on. Matteo always tries to persuade him not to do it but it’s a funny dynamic.
I guess my character must have known him since he was a little boy so that’s quite sweet.
What were your first thoughts when you read the part that been designed for you?
How much?! (Laughs)
I was a bit worried he was going to be like Michael from Alan Partridge. I thought do I want to be Alan Partridge every ten years or do this more regularly and I did this. They are different. I get lots to do and lots of funny scrapes.
I have to be a psychic a mind reader in drag and I make a really horrible woman… worse than Tim!
Is he like Lesley in that he doesn’t really change when he puts on the outfit?
Oh no he’s livid! He absolutely hates it and says I don’t know how Les does this!
I get to be a medium at one point and go to the Chinese booze dealer and get duped into buying this really strong Chinese woo juice.
Was it quite daunting joining the show in its ninth series?
It was, because I literally got off a plane in London from New York then I was straight out of there and into here but everyone is very nice and they eased me in gently.
I’m staying in a very nice house. It’s like the inside of a clinic.
Benidorm continues Wednesdays at 9pm on ITV