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I TALK Benidorm (Series 7)

Some series just run and run and Benidorm is one of those series, and it continues to rate really well with 7.9m people tuning into the series 6 launch in 2014, the show's highest viewing figures since 2011.

Luckily Benidorm has yet to outstay its welcome, and from what I've seen so far of series seven it's shaping up to be one of the strongest series yet even if it does begin with a tinge of sadness as we bid a fond farewell to one of the series' most loved families.

Series seven begins by saying goodbye to the Garvy family who have been in Benidorm since the first series back in 2007.

But it's not all doom and gloom as before we say ‘Adios’ to Mick (Steve Pemberton), Janice (Siobhan Finneran), Michael (Oliver Stokes) and Madge (Sheila Reid), we get to share one more holiday adventure with the Garvey family who shape the first two episodes of the series.

The Garveys are worried that Madge is being stalked and meet Buck A.Roo, played by Leslie Jordan, who reveals a few shocks for the family plays a big part in their departure from the series.

By the time episode three comes along, we're left with very little time to mourn the loss of the Garvey family, as Johnny Vegas returns as Geoff "The Oracle" Maltby who last appeared in Benidorm back in 2009 in series three.

But when he returns to the Solana, he's not alone as he arrives with with his mother Noreen (Elsie Kelly) and former manager Janey York (Crissy Rock).

All the old favourites are back too including Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson), Mateo (Jake Canuso), Les/Lesley (Tim Healy), Kenneth (Tony Maudsley), Liam (Adam Gillen) and Jaqueline (Janine Duvitski). But sadly Kenny Ireland, who played Jacqueline's  husband Donald, was written out of this series due to ill health and sadly on the 31st July 2014 he passed away.

Elsewhere in the series, the Solana staff are angry as everyone's pay and Jacqueline is holidaying without Donald, and arrives with a new guy on her arm having arranged a wife swap to mark her and Donald's wedding anniversary.

In the second episode, Kenneth takes advantage of a psychic customer, Psychic Sue played by Amanda Barrie and holds a séance to contact his mum... but the message he receives appears to be for someone else.

As well as Amanda Barrie and Leslie Jordan there are lots of great cameos this series, including Nadia Sawalha, Phillip Olivier and the legendary Joan Collins returns to play Solana CEO Crystal Hennessy-Vass who is set to cause huge problems for Joyce Temple Savage (Sherrie Hewson). Not to mention what she'll make of The Oracle!

Benidorm is perfect for this time of year as it brings a bit of sunshine to what would otherwise be a rather dull and cold January. Will it return for a new series next year? Well I hope so, but if it doesn't, I'd like to think that it's because of a decision of writer Derren Litten rather than ITV who in my opinion probably can't afford to let a series like Benidorm go.

Benidorm returns Friday 2nd January at 9pm on ITV


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