One to watch: Benidorm - ITV, 9pm

Nicholas Burns as Martin and Bruce Mackinnon as Jonty

Nicholas Burns as Martin and Bruce Mackinnon as Jonty

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Summer might seem an age away, but with a brand new year now well under way, it’s about time we turned our attentions to that annual runaway trip to the sun.

So whether you like your breaks in 5-star luxury, or like to keep things a little bit more down to earth, with organised fun, cross-dressing hotel staff, and the unfortunately placed loud-mouthed couple who you spend all week trying to avoid, it’s time for a little bit of sun. Or perhaps you’d rather give the latter a miss and watch somebody else suffer, from the safety of your armchair instead.

Yep, the show that promises sun, sea and sangria serves up another bumper helping of laughs tonight, as Liam bumps into Bianca and immediately falls in love. But it’s not all good news in the resort, as Donald and Jacqueline receive sad news about their friend Big Donna.

Meanwhile, the grand reopening of Blow n’Go is interrupted by a rowdy stag party, and a familiar face returns - old Solana regular Martin Weedon (Nicholas Burns) is the best man with said stag party.

And Madge is keen to stir things up with the Dyke family, so Janice, Mick, Tonya and Clive decide the best course of action is to ignore her.

Benidorm has been entertaining the masses for just shy of seven years, collecting a couple of National Television Awards along the way. It’s certainly found its place in the public’s heart, and Tim Healy, who plays transvestite Lesley, thinks he knows why.

The actor says: “It has the same appeal as Carry On movies. All the characters are larger?than-life, colourful and great fun to play. I’ve been an actor for 40 years, and it’s wonderful to come to work and have a laugh.”

Laugh being the operative word because Tim admits playing Lesley can be hard work at times.

“It is [fun], although it doesn’t always seem that way when I’m wearing a wig, a bra and full make-up and I’m skating round on roller blades in the 90-degree heat! It can be very uncomfortable. In the Christmas special, they dressed me as Santa in thigh-high leather boots and put me on the top of the Benidorm Palace. It was 42 degrees! I’m not allowed to go into the pool at lunchtime because of the make-up. My make?up takes as long as any of the glamorous female characters!”

Yet Tim is adamant he wouldn’t be anywhere else, especially enjoying the reaction he gets from fans.

“They come up to me and say, “I didn’t recognise you without your wig or your dress!” he smiles.

“A lot of them just walk past me and giggle - which is very nice! I’m absolutely delighted to be in this show.

“It’s a blast.”

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