John Challis: Bowled over by Benidorm reaction

The public reaction to the new ITV series of Benidorm has been exceptional.

John Challis and Sherrie Hewson in Benidorm
John Challis and Sherrie Hewson in Benidorm

It’s been thrilling that more than four million people have been tuning in, making the show a hit. I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the storylines that we created while filming in Spain last year being played out on the small screen.

My character, Monty, has been at the forefront with his marriage to Joyce Temple-Savage, who is played by Sherrie Hewson.

There have been some very funny scenes and each time the show goes out the response on Twitter is brilliant. People really enjoy it and find it all very funny.

Of course, the nature of television is that it’s often shot a long time before it goes out – and that is the case for Benidorm.

We filmed it last spring in Spain. I’ve been busy at home during the past few weeks with my new tour, Only Fools and Boycie.

It’s included a number of sell-out shows in our region; having travelled the length and breadth of the country in recent years I wanted to focus on the Midlands and Wales for the present shows.

So I played the delightful Albert Hall, in Llandrindod Wells, as well as a gorgeous little theatre in Oswestry, which was sold out. On June 28 I’ll be back to the Walker Theatre, in Shrewsbury, and am hoping there’ll be a good crowd for that.

I’m very passionate about local theatres; not least because I did a lot of my ‘apprenticeship’ in weekly rep, where we’d be on the road with a different production in a different town every week.

Theatres locally are kept alive by the support of volunteers and really good staff and I’m happy to be behind them. From Ludlow and Bridgnorth to Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Telford and into Mid-Wales, I’ve played a number in recent years and it’s great that enthusiasts keep them going.

Who knows, I may seen some of you at the Walker Theatre in June, when I’ll be sharing stories from Only Fools and Boycie, Benidorm and much more.

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