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I TALK TO Janine Duvitski & Paul Bazely

Last seen in the final episode of Series 4, Troy is back in Benidorm and once again played by Paul Bazely.

Also back, following the very sad death of Kenny Ireland who played her on-screen husband Donald, is Janine Duvitski as Benidorm’s most prolific swinger, Jacqueline Stewart. How will Jacqueline move on from Donald? And why exactly is Troy back?

First of all, Paul, what’s it like for you being back?

Paul: It’s a delight to be back! Especially with Tony (Maudsley) and Janine (Duvitski). We’ve teamed up quite a lot and Troy is going to come and help out with Blow ’N’ Go so I’m part of the team and that’s great.

When they were here last year, Derren rang me up and said “Do you fancy coming back?”, and the thing was that I left five years ago to go and do Pirates of the Caribbean so I thought, well it’s my fault, I’ve gone and the show had moved on. So I never expected to come back. I still love the show so when Derren asked I said yes, but I couldn’t imagine how it would happen.

We didn’t get the scripts until just before the read-through so I knew I was coming back, but I still didn’t know what was going to happen. Even then we hadn’t read all the episodes!

It’s the first time we’ve seen Kenneth and Troy together on screen isn’t it?

Paul: It is. Me and Tony did a film years ago with Reese Witherspoon, Vanity Fair, where I played his weird Indian servant, so we knew each other well. And of course me and Janine have done loads of stuff together as well.

The story is that Kenneth was my assistant back in Derby. The first year I wasn’t here, Kenneth came out instead of me and fell in love with it which is when he bought Blow ’N’ Go. I was his old boss basically so there’s going to be sparks because I’m a bit bossy. Troy likes to take control and Kenneth doesn’t like that.

He’s sensible, but he thinks he knows everything. He thinks he’s a bit like Mary Portas and thinks Blow ’N’ Go needs a makeover.

When the series begins, it’s quite a poignant moment for Jacqueline isn’t it?

Janine: Well yeah, and it’s a double thing because Kenny (Ireland) had actually died. We knew he was ill last year, so I had a different partner and originally he was going to do a bit at the beginning and a bit at the end, but they couldn’t manage that. So we knew it was coming but you’re still really sad. It all starts at the top of the mountain this series scattering his ashes.

Paul: Derren never shies away from that. Even when Geoffrey Hutchins died he marked it, and now Kenny Ireland has died he’s marking it. The audience know that Kenny has died so I think it’s nice for Derren to acknowledge it as a mark of respect.

Janine: We sort of knew that he was dying last series, but I don’t think Derren wanted to write that in early. What Derren does brilliantly is that he can be funny and poignant, so he takes you by surprise and takes the edge of it so it’s not morbid.

Paul: I think because Derren genuinely loves the characters he finds it quite easy to write genuinely touching moments.

Janine: And he’s always able to write other sides to characters that you wouldn’t expect, like Johnny Vegas’ character last series finding out that he was adopted.

Paul: There were also some very lovely scenes with Tim (Healy) and his son and seeing him off, telling him that he’s proud of him and then his mum arrived - Derren is very good at writing layers.

So is Jacqueline still swinging?

Janine: Well, I think because she’s always presumed everybody loves that, she would certainly feel that Donald would want her to be. If there were to be other partners she knows that Donald would find that to be very acceptable. So I hope that might be the way it goes...

Paul: You have a little bit of a flirt up don’t you?

Janine: Yes, there might be a bit of scope. I want to stay forever so I always like to think there’s scope! That’s just me wanting to stay in it.

What are you making of the new family?

Janine: They’re great yeah. Well there’s a slight flirtation with Bobby Knutt’s character, Eddie. I can’t say whether that will go on or not... So that’s a possibility.

Paul: You’ve got Steve Edge, Julie Graham and little Honor (Kneafsey)... She scares me. She’s brilliant!

Janine: She’s gorgeous!

Paul: And also she’s playing two different accents in the show, neither of them are hers, and for her to be able to do that is a bit sickening. At the read-through I remember looking at them all in a row and thinking “My god they’re brilliant”. They’re actors who can do anything. They can do serious, they can do funny. That’s what I think you need in this show, actors that can switch about.

Janine: When the Garvey’s left it was so sad but because it’s a hotel, when you think of soaps or whatever, you think it won’t be the same when they’re gone, whereas here it’s much more understandable. It’s a holiday place so it’s perfectly acceptable to have a new family, and I think they’re great.

Paul: He’s written them as real people so there’s some funny stuff going on but there’s emotional storylines going through all of them.

Paul, have you been recognised again out here? Have people realised you’re back?

Paul: Well because it’s always running on ITV3, even back home, people don’t know I’ve left! People either have the boxset or they fancy Benidorm so they put a random episode on and because you can dip in and out, people come up to me all the time to say they love me in it.

But a lot of people here now do say to me “Lovely to see you back” and it’s very sweet.

And Janine, what’s it been like for you this year?

Janine: I get a lot of condolences! I’m usually with my husband and people go "Sorry about your husband” and my real one is right behind me! We’re used to it here. It’s sweet, they’re all very warm about it.

Paul: I think it’s because people really love the show and the characters, they sort of think that you’re their mate and they come up to you for hugs and pictures. I was out with Shelia Reid (Madge Garvey) the other night and we were walking to a restaurant and I’m six foot one, so I don’t mind if someone gives me a hug, but she’s tiny and all you can see is her being squashed! She’s so grateful and sweet about it.

Do either of you have any scenes with Shelia this series?

Janine: No, my real husband has! He’s in a tiny bit this year. He’s got a scene with her, playing the auctioneer.

Have you noticed the Benidorm phenomena grow every year?

Janine: Well when we first came we used to stay at the Melia, and walks round in Benidorm, but now you can’t really do that.

Paul: We used to film at the Pelicanos and at lunchtime we’d go and have a coffee, but you can’t do that anymore.

Janine: Only because it takes so long to get across...

Paul: Because everyone wants a photo or whatever. It’s completely fine, but I haven’t been here for five years and it’s definitely a much bigger phenomena than it was! Also, I think if you’ve watched eight series you’ve got a bigger emotional pull to it than if you’ve just watched three. I was shocked to see how excited everyone was that we were back in town.

Janine: I’ve bought a house... which is why I’ve got to stay!

Benidorm returns Monday 11th January at 9pm on ITV


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