As Benidorm returns for an incredible eighth series, Billy, Sheron, Eddie, Rob and Jodie, otherwise known as the Dawsons, make their on-screen debut as they prepare for their first stay in the Solana, Benidorm’s best 3-star hotel!
Mum & Dad, Billy and Sheron, are played by Steve Edge (Phoenix Nights) and Julie Graham (The Bletchley Circle) and the brilliant Bobby Knutt, best-known for playing Albert Dingle in Emmerdale plays Billy’s dad Eddie. Billy and Sheron have two kids, 19 year-old Rob played by Josh Bolt, and 7 year-old Jodie, played by the wonderful Honor Kneafsey (Our Zoo).
Unfortunately not all of the Dawsons were out in Benidorm when I visited the set so wasn’t able to speak to Julie Graham or Josh Bolt, however I did have a really nice chat with Steve Edge, Bobby Knutt and Honor Kneafsey in the Solana reception area...
As you're the new family in Benidorm, why don't you introduce us to the Dawsons? Who are they?
Steve:We're the Dawsons, the new family. I play Billy and Bobby (Knutt) is playing Eddie, who's my dad in the show, recently divorced.
So we come on holiday with him and Julie Graham plays my wife, Sheron... basically Sharon but with an E! Then we've got a 19 year-old Rob, played by Josh Bolt and Honor Kneafsey plays our youngest, Jodie. We come for a lovely family holiday and brought dad with us...
Bobby: Well it would have been a lovely family holiday, had I not been there!
Steve: Yeah, he's driving us up the wall!
So Eddie is a bit of trouble then?
Bobby: He's a loveable character but he's a crafty all sod. Right at the top of the show in the first episode, he knows there's three rooms and one's a luxury room.
So he nips in the reception first and snaps up that, leaving the rest of the family with the other two not so luxury rooms if you know what I mean!
Steve: I think the line in the script is "Our rooms are an absolute shithole!" I spend a lot of the holiday playing mediator and going "Oh, he's not that bad".
I love him obviously because he's my dad and when we've got scenes on our own I do tell him off but in scenes in front of everyone else I'm the mediator and Sheron hates it. And with good cause.
And what sort of girl is Jodie?
Honor: In my mum's eyes I'm like the angel, so whatever I do or say is perfect. In Northern I'm a sweet kinda girl, and when I go into an American accent she still thinks it's cute.
Bobby: I kick her in the swimming pool in the first episode! She's standing there wondering whether or not to go in and I'm there with a tray of drinks in my hand and I ask her "Are you going in? Can you swim?" - She goes, "Not really" so I tell her there's only one way to learn and in she goes!
I think I'm doing her a favour because that's how my granddad taught me how to swim, which I reveal to her later.
Steve: From our side of the pool we just see someone push our daughter into the pool and nearly drown!
Steve, how have you enjoyed working with your on-screen wife Julie Graham?
Steve: Brilliant! Our family literally gelled straight away. I do most of my scenes with Julie, and she's great so I think we are actually going to get married after this! (Laughs)
Josh who's playing my son in this has basically become my son. It was his 21st and I made him go home at 1 o'clock! He's never done anything for himself so I tried to teach him to cook a little bit.
How are you enjoying filming in Benidorm?
SE: It's lovely. There aren't many jobs where you sit there and look at the sun. We do a lot of scenes together but have become almost like a family.
BK: There'll be days where we're in all day but have no lines to say, we're just in the background and have to be there for continuity. So we just sit around in the sun and laugh! And you're well fed at lunchtime, it's a job from heaven.
Honor, how does Benidorm differ to Our Zoo?
HK: The character has changed loads! In Our Zoo I was quite sweet, and in this I'm a bit of a diva-like character. It's nice to do both. I performed in Neptune's on my second day, which was quite nerve-wracking.
Steve: She had to stand in front of everyone and sing badly... and it's the fact that not everyone knew that she had to sing badly.
And how are you all settling in?
Honor: Everyone's lovely. Everyone's like a real family.
Steve: We spend a lot of our scenes together, but Friday and Saturday's we all go out generally. From the outset, when we went to the read-through, I was quite nervous because we were a new family joining an established cast, a bit like jumping on a moving train!
But they were lovely, I remember Tony (Maudsley) and Tim (Healy), especially being dead nice.
Bobby: All the regulars, the big boys made us all so welcome. I didn't know Tony, but I've known Tim for year. We feel like we've stepped in and have been accepted. It's lovely. It really is.
Not just the cast. Simon Bird, our Producer, you couldn't meet a nicer guy. He'll do anything or you. When I first went into my apartment, a beautiful place in Albir, I love cooking, I used to have my own cooking show, but with things I haven't got. So I asked him for a potato masher and a chopping board and they were there the next day!
Were you fans of the show before coming into it?
Bobby: I was. I've got all the DVD's. It's hilarious.
Steve: I think it's just so tightly plotted, I think that's what Derren does. He writes believable characters and over the seven episodes it's brilliant the way things move on in such a short space of time.
So which other characters do you have a lot of scenes with?
Honor: Josh (Bolt) has some with Nathan (Bryon).
Steve: Yeah and with Danny (Walters) as well, so the young lads have a few scenes together.
Honor: Pauline and I have a scene which is really nice. She's my new drinking partner.
Steve: Yeah, she falls off the wagon and brings her along.
Honor: She thinks I'm a dwarf or midget so thinks I can have drinks, so she orders me a small large vodka!
How are you finding the fans of Benidorm out here?
Honor: Nobody knows us!
Steve: That's the beauty. When we're filming poolside it's great because we walk through with Tony and Tim and they get mobbed, but we slip through the radar. Nobody knows us yet. When ITV released the picture of us a few people did know us then.