I recently caught up what Chucklevision legends Paul and Barry Chuckle to talk about Benidorm, being recognised in toilets and Celebrity Big Brother.
As the tenth series of Benidorm continues on ITV, the latest episode will see a cameo from two rather familiar television faces who happen to be two of my childhood heroes.
There have been many great guest stars in Benidorm throughout the years including Cilla Black, Matthew Kelly, Su Pollard and now for its tenth series Paul and Barry Chuckle aka the Chuckle Brothers are giving it a go!
With Monty recently appointed the Solana’s new Entertainments Manager, his first task is to find that evening’s entertainment. As he plans a magical evening at Neptunes who better to ask to perform than The Great Crostini and Co. What could possibly go wrong?!
Since Chucklevision ended you’ve made a few cameos in the odd show. What’s it like acting together on screen again in Benidorm?
Paul: Well we’ve been working together for 54 years now and since Chucklevision ended we’ve done game shows and panel shows together like Pointless and Celebrity Juice and Josh so acting together again in Benidorm just felt like we’ve never stopped doing it. It was just good fun. I had some great laughs with Sherrie Hewson.
Were you both fans of Benidorm before?
Paul: I was a big fan of Benidorm, still am. It’s a very funny programme which I've watched from the very start.
Barry: Same, it’s always been on and always a great watch.
Paul: I think the reason it works is because people understand what it’s like to go on holiday and they watch it wishing they were there now. The humour is really down to earth and it’s what they class as old-fashioned comedy, which is fun and people like to watch it. People like to have a laugh.
Barry: It’s a bit like Carry On.
Paul: Absolutely, and much like Chucklevision was, people like to know what’s coming next. You go in through a swing door and people go “Oh I know what they’ll do here” and then it happens and they go “I told ya!” and they laugh.
I’m surprised it’s taken years for you to appear on Benidorm, it seems like such a natural fit for you two!
Paul: (Laughs) I know! We thought the same but you can’t go knocking at people’s doors and begging, you just wait for them to come to you and ask. Which luckily for Benidorm they did.
What can you say about your characters?
Paul: Well they’re a magic act and I play The Great Crostini...
Barry: And I’m Co.
Paul: I play The Great Crostini who’s the magician and Barry plays Co, the assistant. They get asked by Monty to perform in Neptunes, although I have a feeling that they actually knocked it up together just to get the work as magicians. Wait until you see Barry as Co, you’ve seen nothing like it!
Oh I’ve seen it! What was that experience like for you Barry?
It was OK, I have done it a couple of times before in Chucklevision, there was an episode where we did dancing and all that and I was dressed up as a female. I had to be in very early in the morning to get all the make-up done so the long days were the worst part but dressing up was a lot of fun!
They say to never work with children or animals, what were the doves like to work with?
Barry: They were alright actually, they were brilliant. Very well trained.
Paul: Very well trained. I remember opening up the cabinet and this dove took off and started flying. I then put my hand up and it landed on my finger straight away. Incredible really. Great tricks I tell you now. Wait until you see them! They look brilliant.
Had you worked with any of the Benidorm cast before?
Paul: Tony Maudsley had just done pantomime with us in Nottingham which is where we first met Derren Litten, the writer. He came to see us and it was the first time we’ve met him. But we got on great with him and he said “I’ll write you into an episode” and we thought fabulous and here we are!
Barry: Shane Richie was in one of our shows so we’d worked him before and we’ve known Bobby Knutt for a number of years.
What was Bobby like to work with?
Barry: Wonderful. Because we knew him, it was just like working with a mate. It was so good to have Bobby involved in our scenes.
Paul: Yeah it really was. We knew him and his wife Donna very well and during each take we’d have great chats and it’s really sad that he’s no longer with us. Very sad.
Barry: Absolutely, very sad.
Had either of you been to Benidorm before? And what do you make of it?
Paul: No, neither of us had ever been to Benidorm!
Barry: We’d passed through it from Alicante but we’ve never stayed there.
Paul: I really loved it, it’s a really fun place. People say it’s the Blackpool of Spain, but it’s better than Blackpool! For one, it’s a lot warmer and everyone is happier because they’re nice and warm and suntanned. They spend the day by the pool or in the sea and then at night they enjoy themselves. It’s a really fun place.
Were you recognised quite a lot during filming?
Paul: Oh absolutely! We do a scene with John Challis just across the road from the beach in a cafe, and there must have been hundreds of people standing there watching, taking pictures of us. They said that in all the years of filming that they’ve never had a crowd like that watching.
People of all ages as well. We get 45 year-olds coming up to us who were only 15 when Chucklevision first aired!
How long were you out there for filming?
Barry: About a week weren’t it?
Paul: Yeah, we were there for about a week but I ended up breaking my ribs in the hotel so I ended up staying there for close to three weeks!
I came out of the bathroom, walked into the bedroom and slipped on some water, feet up in the air flat on my back. The floors were very slippery, you could almost see yourself in them they were that shiny.
Barry: Luckily, we’d just finished filming but they wouldn’t let Paul fly back until he was right.
Paul: I had five actually broken ribs, not fractured or cracked or anything, they were actually broken.
Will you be watching your episode of Benidorm when it goes out and looking at the Twitter reaction?
Barry: Oh yeah, just to see how it comes over.
Paul: Absolutely, I love Twitter. I think it’s a really good concept. It’s short and sweet. You only need to put “To you” and it gets like 100,000 retweets!
Where’s the strangest place you’ve been recognised?
Paul: For me it was on one of the little islands in the Maldives, would you believe it? Most of the people in the hotels and that knew who I was but you don’t expect the guys who live out there to know who I am.
So I’m walking down this street, almost like a shopping street, and this man comes out “Hey! You’re a Chuckle brother!” and told me how he lived for two years in London and used to watch Chucklevision all the time. It was the only programme he used to watch and understand!
Barry: I’d say probably in a toilet. You go into the toilet in private...
Paul: And you come out with a wet leg don’t you?
Barry: Yeah! They turn to you and go “You’re a Chuckle brother!” and you go “Do you mind?” (Laughs) I think that’s probably the strangest and weirdest place.
Jack Whitehall recently said that he wanted you to present an award at the BRITs, would you have done it if you were asked?
Paul: He’s been a fan for many years. We would have done it if we were asked, yeah.
Barry: Yeah that’s right because he’s a big fan of ours. We had a photo with him years ago.
Paul: And his mum had it framed for him. So he’s got a photo of us with him at the side of his bed which is a bit weird. But he’s a funny comic. He’s really good Jack.
What TV do you enjoy watching?
Paul: Big Brother, Coronation Street...
Barry: Would I Lie To You? with Lee Mack, that’s the funniest show for me. I really like that programme so that’s probably my favourite.
Paul: A League of Their Own is probably my favourite which again has Jack in it and Freddie Flintoff. It’s very funny.
What about Reality TV? Paul you mentioned that you enjoy Big Brother, have you ever been asked?
Barry: Yeah a couple of times.
Paul: We have yeah, so you never know, maybe one day we’ll give it a go. I know the wife wants us to go into the jungle on I’m A Celebrity so that she can go in that Versace Hotel... I know her game! (Laughs) She’d be drinking champagne and having caviar while I’m eating a load of rubbish in the jungle! But Celebrity Big Brother I’d do.
Barry: I would have done I’m A Celebrity a few years ago, but I think I’m getting a bit past it now. I’m not sure I could do all those things that they want you to do. I’d probably do Celebrity Big Brother. We were asked and they were talking to us about it but nothing came of it. I think they thought we weren’t nasty enough.
Paul: It would be fun, as long as they’ve got whisky in there and not just beer and wine.
What’s next for you? Any more rap collaborations?
Paul: Well we’re doing some filming in a couple of weeks time which we can’t talk about right now and we’ve got a few more PAs. We’re just waiting for another rapper to come along and ask us. Jay-Z will do.