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I TALK TO Julie Graham & Steve Edge

They were the new family last year, but this year the Dawsons are back and I caught up with Julie Graham and Steve Edge, who play Sheron and Billy, poolside at the Solana to find out more.

Right from the get go, the Dawsons’ holiday in series nine starts with a bang when Eddie has an accident and Sheron’s fashion taste is put into question.

And things don’t get any better when Sheron’s mother, Loretta turns up, and she’s already made an impression.

Here’s what Julie and Steve had to say about what’s in store for the Dawsons this series.

Were you pleased with the reaction to the family last series?

Steve: Yeah, it was all fairly positive wasn’t it? I mean, I didn’t do a Twitter search or anything. I got a lot of people tweeting me saying they liked the new family and stuff, so that was good yeah.

Julie: Yeah, there did seem to be a lot of very positive, and Derren was very pleased.

Steve: Derren was very pleased as well. And we’re back!

Julie: Yeah, we’re back so we did something right.

Have you been recognised out and about in Benidorm this year?

Julie: A little bit more. I think people are scared of me. I think they’re scared of Sheron so they come up and go “Hi… are you?” and I go “YEAH.” I don’t get the Kenneth/Tony Maudsley effect as I always call it. But certainly much much more. No doubt about it.

Steve: When you walk through here (the pool) you get a lot more.

Julie: But it’s always nice. People are always really lovely. You don’t get any arseholes really.

Steve: Apart from us…

Julie: Apart from the other actors!

This series Sheron’s mother has come on holiday with them. Is she embarrassed to have her there?

Julie: Yes, I know. Mother from hell.

No, I don’t think so. But I think she probably was when she was growing up. I think she’s probably over it now. I think she gets a lot of enjoyment out of Loretta. but sometimes she just goes too far.

How would you describe Loretta?

Julie: Arsey. Opinionated. Very free.

Steve: I’d just say arsehole. We don’t see so eye-to-eye.

Julie: I mean, I think she’s great. She’s one of those people who’s great fun to be around. You know when you have a really amazing friend but you’d hate to be married to them?

You think “I’d never want to be your wife or girlfriend but I really like being around you.” She’s that kind of person.

Steve: Short periods of time.

How’s Billy dealing with having his mother-in-law there?

Steve: We were just saying, last year I was very much a peacemaker, trying to keep those two (Sheron and Eddie) apart. But because my dad’s lived with us for a year. I think you’ve (Sharon) sort of softened a little bit.

Julie: Mellowed. A little. Well I’ve allowed him to come on holiday with us again.

Steve: I don’t particularly like Loretta. I don’t. There’s a bit right at the beginning…

Julie: Well she’s always having a go at you isn’t she?

Steve: Yeah, well she gets my name wrong. She keeps abbreviating my name to Bill and that winds me up.

Julie: “You’re looking very tired!”

Steve: Yeah, so there’s two camps this time and I’m very much on my dad’s side against Loretta. Sheron's sort of drifting more at the start of the series I think.

And Sheron isn’t very happy when Loretta returns without Jodie is she?

Julie: Oh yeah. Well I think Sheron has a bit of a screaming fit. At least one every series maybe?

Steve: Yeah, that’s why I married her. Feisty.

Julie: Yeah she’s very upset because she leaves Jodie, but actually it turns out that she’s fine. But that’s the kind of person Loretta is. She’s irresponsible.

Not irresponsible but she just does her own thing and everybody has to fit around what she wants. There’s no malice, but she’s just a pain in the arse as a mother. But yes, I do get slightly upset and raise my voice a little.

Do you like the scenes where you’re shouting and screaming?

Julie: Erm, yeah. It’s very cathartic actually. It gets all your frustrations out. I don’t think the people around the pool enjoy it too much when they’re trying to relax.

Steve: When they hear it for the fiftieth time.

Julie: Those scenes are always great to do yeah. They’re always funny.

What happens with the luggage mishap in episode one?

Steve: Oh. Eddie’s cases just go missing somewhere along the journey and he has to wear whatever’s available.

Julie: I have to go and get him something…

Steve: Yeah, you get him some stuff.

Julie: It’s kind of sweet revenge. I come back with the most ridiculous outfits that he has to wear.

Steve: Well the Grim Reaper’s one of them. So he’s dressed head to toe in black.

Julie: He’s a bit pissed off about that.

They start to think that their son is gay as well. Is that right?

Julie: Well… It’s a sort of suggestion. I don’t think they’re that bothered about it though are they?

Steve: No, I don’t think they’re that bothered.

They’re just wondering?

Julie: Yeah, I think if anyone had a problem with it, it would probably be Eddie , you know because he’s a bit of a dinosaur. And I think it’s just that gentle winding people up which I think families do. I don’t think there’s any malice behind it and I certainly don’t think they’d have a problem with it if he was.

Rob goes out drinking quite a lot this series doesn’t he?

Julie: He does. He’s turned into a real arsehole.

Steve: He’s growing up a little bit.

Julie: He’s turned into a bit of a twat actually. Hasn’t he?

Steve: He’s at University and doing a BA in being a nobhead. Because our daughter is only in the first couple of episodes, he was a good big brother wasn’t he?

Julie: Yeah, but now she’s gone.

Steve: He’s sort of drifted off with Tiger and Joey and getting into their scams a little bit more.

So Jodie’s gone back to stage school? Is that right?

Steve: She went back to do an advert and then she gets another advert whilst she’s back.

And how are things between you two?

Julie: I think we’re always fine.

Steve: We’re always fine.

Julie: Steve was just saying, that if we came on holiday by ourselves, we’d have a great time.

Steve: A lovely time. Everyone else just keeps ruining it.

Julie: I know! I think it’d be a bit boring though to watch. Because they’d just be really nice.

Steve: Having ice creams. Lady and the Tramp, spaghetti. They’d have a lovely time.

Have you had any scenes with any of the guest stars?

Steve: I’ve done one with Uri Geller. It was good, he bent a spoon for me and I watched him very closely. He bent quite a few that say and he was getting a bit spiritually tired, bending spoons.

Julie: The spoons kept disappearing.

Steve: I watched him closely. Couldn’t see the trick.

Julie: Derren told us how it’s done but…

Steve: I just enjoy magic. I never question it.

Julie: I know! I don’t want to know how it’s done. I quite like it. Who else have we had?

Steve: George Shelley.

Julie: Yeah. He was absolutely adorable.

Steve: Lovely and a lot taller than I’d thought.

Do you get out and about much this series?

Julie: We have a date night. I make him dress up as Crocodile Dundee.

Steve: Yeah, because she’s got a thing for the Australian accent.

Julie: So we have a sort of role play date night which of course turns into a disaster.

Steve: Yep. And then later on we’ve got some stuff at the Circus.

Julie: Yeah, we go to Benidorm Circus at some point but apart from that no we haven’t. Oh we go on a sort of big hen night looking for booze.

I get dragged out with Loretta, because there’s one of the saint days where all alcohol is banned. Can you imagine that? In Benidorm! I mean in reality there’d be rioting out in the streets. So we go on the trail. We go outside with a hen party looking for booze.

But that’s about it. We go to the old town. It’s really exciting because we were like “Ooh look, we’re somewhere else!” A day out!

Any singing in Neptunes?

Julie: No I don’t. You do.

Steve: I do. It’s in the Uri Geller episode where Uri puts a sort of a spell on me.

Julie: He has an epiphany.

Steve: I have an epiphany and I start living life and embracing positive energy. I sing Happy by Pharrell Williams in a sort of manic way.

Julie: Yeah, I can’t stand it because it’s all happy clappy and… I want the miserable bastard back.

Steve: They sort of team up to try and make me miserable again. Giving me bad news. And I’m just fine with it, just rolling with it in my positive state of mind.

Julie: We don’t want any of that shit. None of that positive shit.

When you’re out and about, do you often see real life people who your characters could have been inspired from?

Julie: Oh God all the time! Yeah, I mean they’re everywhere. You can’t move for them. It’s brilliant.

Steve: A lot of women look like Tim (Healy) when he’s dressed up.

Julie: Yeah. A lot of women. That is true.

Steve: I think we did last year go up to someone and say “Oh you look like, oh no, forget it!”

Julie: It became like a sport didn’t it? I haven’t seen many Kenneths I have to say. Apart from the one… the actual double who dresses like him and… it’s a bit weird.

I get a lot of messages on Twitter people saying “Hi. My name’s Debbie. I’m coming to Benidorm for a couple of weeks. I’m a big fan. Do you think I can be in it?” Erm… Well I’m not really the one you should be asking!

Steve: “It’s our 21st birthday when we’re out there. Do you want to come to the party?”

Julie: Yeah. And there’s pictures of me in blue dressing gowns all over the internet. Well actually all the cast. Because when we first start coming here, it’s quite cold so if we’ve got scenes around the pool they give us these blue fluffy checked dressing gowns to wear to keep us warm. Very glamorous.

When you’re walking back through and people want their photographs taken, there’s all these photographs all over Twitter of me and Kate and Selina all in these weird… We look like some kind of weird blue dressing gown cult. So that’s the explanation for it.

Do you have trouble corpsing at all?

Julie: All the time. I’m quite bad.

Steve: Josh is quite bad.

Julie: Josh is really bad. We're not too bad actually because we rehearse it so much, we kind of get used to what’s coming. But yeah, I’m a bit of a giggler I have to say. He (Steve) makes me laugh. He makes me laugh more than anyone. If anyone’s going to get me, it’s him.

I have to say, with this I always look forward to seeing the next script. Always. Because usually I am a terrible flicker. I do flick to my bits. I’m a terrible flicker! (Laughs)

Steve: Julie Graham is a terrible flicker. (Laughs)

Julie: I always look forward to reading everybody elses as well, because his (Derren) writing is great. It’s very very funny. And easy to learn which is always a bonus for an actor.

Do you do anything to pass the time when you’re in the background?

Steve: We just sort of chat rubbish don’t we?

Julie: We sometimes. The thing is, we sunbathe and we get paid for sunbathing. And we play stupid games, but we couldn’t tell you what they were. Cos they’re just daft. We’ve constructed our own world around things to keep us amused.

Steve: We did play a game once where we had to guess what shadow I was.

Julie: Oh yes, that’s right. A shadow.

Steve: Statue of Liberty. Using no props.

Julie: Hours.

Steve: Yeah hours. It were good weren’t it that?

Julie: A lot of the time, because it’s an ensemble, a lot of the time we are in the back of each other’s shots so there is a lot of hanging about but…

Steve: It only becomes weird like the other day when I was in the pool all day and it was really hot and I could sort of smell the envy, me just swimming around and they were all just like…

Julie: We were like “Fuck you”

Steve: It got a bit boring after fifteen minutes.

Julie: Oh shut up.

Steve: Every now and again I’d get out.

Julie: And we’d go “Are you sure you’re alright? Can we bring you a cocktail?”

Steve: I think they gave me a coffee in the pool, it was a first. I‘ve never had a coffee in a swimming pool before. It’s not often when you pass forty that you have many firsts. But I’ve never had a coffee in a pool before!

Benidorm returns Wednesday 1st March at 9pm on ITV


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