Friday, 31 December 2010

Benidorm: Christmassy and bawdy yes, but moving? Really?

ITV1's comedy drama Benidorm, set in the eponymous Spanish tourist town, has developed a reputation among the general viewing public that's best summed up in one word: bawdy.

As in, 'Oh yes, Benidorm - that's that bawdy sitcom in the Spanish tourist town on ITV, I won't watch that.'

But bawdy at Christmas? Do those two words even go?

Returning to the screens for a one off festive special, the British-made but Spanish-set programme not only had to be bawdy and Christmassy - but also had to accommodate the death of one of its leading characters, Mel, following the real-life death of actor Geoffrey Hutchings.

But in plot terms, Mel's absence became the core of the episode, leading to the climatic discovery of his death after he failed to return home for Christmas dinner, with wife Madge told the news by her son-in-law Mick as they watched Roy Wood perform I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday on the stage of the club owned by Mel.

It made for a striking - and uniquely Benidorm - moment of telly, that was almost a bit sort of, um, moving too.

And the jokes about nudist colonies, the distracting subplot involving a lost Su Pollard (playing herself) and the getting-to-be-tiresome antics of 'swingers' Donald and Jacqueline - all standard fare for a Benidorm episode - could be forgiven.

So although Benidorm might not everyone's cup of tea - I nearly wrote 'cup of sangria', good Lord! - my straw sun hat is off for a neat and amusing episode, complete with fake snow poured from the roof at the end, which is what you have at Christmas on telly, right?

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