Interview


Siobhan Finneran
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With Spain-set comedy Benidorm now in its second season, cast member Siobhan Finneran talks swimwear and snogging local barmen with hellomagazine.com.



What’s the premise for Benidorm

"It’s a week in the life of people on holiday at the Solana, an all-inclusive resort in Spain. There are lots of brilliant characters – 15 in all – who get up to some quite shocking things. And they’re all very, very funny.”

Your character, Janice Garvey, is a mum with quite a lot on her plate…

“Well, Janice is feisty, foul-mouthed and quite fantastic. But she’s never going to win the best mother of the year award - ever! She does try and round her family up, which is actually a better expression to describe her role than ‘look after them’.

“Chantelle – her teenage daughter – has a baby son, Coolio, whom she’s not interested in looking after. So that’s down to Janice.”

What about her husband?

“That’s Mick, who’s up for an easy life and any kind of scam going. In the last series he was arrested for defrauding the UK social services, who followed him to Spain.

“Meanwhile, there’s Janice’s mother Madge, who’s fallen out with her other five daughters. This year her mum’s brought her boyfriend Mel, who’s a complete pain in the backside.”

Which are this season's stand-out storylines?

“There’s the on-going romance between Madge and Mel her new chap. He proposes to her and we follow that relationship through to their wedding.

“Then there’s Janice and Mick’s tenth wedding anniversary, which he forgets. So she wanders off and has a bit of a snog with a very young barman.”

That must have been quite good fun!

“I just felt embarrassed and very sorry for the young lad. He was only in his early 20s. Some people get Sharon Stone, and he got Janice Garvey!”

Talking about the embarrassment factor – how did it feel having to wear swimwear all day long?

“Everybody was going: ‘Oh, why have we said we’d do this?’. We were all wishing for a swimsuit that covered from the neck to the ankle. But once out there you just get on with it.”

What about being sprayed with tanning lotion?

“Well I didn’t have to do that, but the actors who did ended up with completely orange paws.”

Do you think audiences are warming to the characters or do they spend too much time cringeing?

"A bit of both I think. It’s like the way you can’t take your eyes off someone when they slip. But we all tried to find the truth in each character, to make them a real person – not a stereotype."

You made your acting debut over 20 years ago as Rita in Rita, Sue And Bob Too and have worked steadily since then. But since having your kids – nine-year-old Joseph and seven-year-old Poppy - you’ve cut back a bit. How did the schedule fit with your family life?

"When the kids were younger my husband, Mark Jordan, was away filming Heartbeat quite a lot so I had to cut back. Now they’re older my parents step in when neither of us are around. And the children came and visited, of course. At half-term there was a good crèche situation going on.

Did you get involved in Benidorm’s legendary nightlife, including karaoke sessions? Your co-star Johnny Vegas talked about it being hard to go for a drink and come back before three days were up…

“I think that was just Johnny! After being initially petrified, the rest of us did find our karaoke feet in the second series. My speciality was Meatloaf’s Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

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