30 January 2015

TV: Benidorm 7.5

It's a bit of a strange episode, this one. It continues the inconsistent theme of the series, as far as that's possible. There's another major change in the leading cast, and Joan Collins is back as Solana chain owner Crystal Hennessey-Vass. These numerous cast changes almost feel like they're included to distract our attention from the absence of the Garveys. I'd almost prefer that we stuck with a relatively consistent cast for a short period, with just a couple of changes. But we seem to get a raft of new (or old) characters with each passing episode at the moment.

Relatively thin on plot, this focuses more on the toppling of Joyce and the reinstallation of Janey, a character I've never been especially keen on. I was excited early on when it appeared that Mateo really was finally about to get the step up, but as always in Benidorm, things weren't as they first appeared. I commented in my review of a previous episode that I hoped Jake Canuso's character (regularly the star of the series for me, and that fact is no different here) might get a bigger role, and it looked for a short while as if that wish may be granted. With the return of Janey, however, it wasn't to be. The scouser made short work of exerting her authority and marking her patch. Joyce does have one week left in her apartment though, so expect to see Sherrie Hewson in both remaining episodes.

One of the things I really like about this programme is that it isn't just a sitcom about nightmare guests, or a Fawlty Towers-esque story of staff slowly descending into chaos; it's both. Flipping across the counter, the main news this week for the inmates guests is the arrival of Ionela, Geoff's fiance. It soon becomes apparent that she has extremely little interest in Maltby himself, but the setup she thinks he can offer her family. Somehow, he's managed to convince her over the internet that he's the millionaire owner of Maltby Communications, currently merging with Telefonica, and lives in Maltby Towers with his mother. Her entire family are going to come and live with them - or so she believes. Just when you think things can't get more disastrous on the part of the staff, the guests manage to best them (and vice versa of course).

Disappointingly, there's once again very little for Clive, Tiger and Terri to do. In his first series Tiger was an adventurous extrovert, always wondering where the next party would be. Throughout Series 7, however, he's been portrayed as a shier, worse-with-girls teen. It's probably a consequence of having a lack of peers of the same age, but he's now resorting to taking tips on women from his dad - almost. Terri gets a makeover after a Blow 'n' Go mix-up but otherwise the trio are afforded very little content again this week. Hopefully things will pick up for this potentially electric combination in the remaining 90 minutes.

So overall, this was another 'good' addition to the seventh series, but I'm afraid that's it. It didn't progress the series by a particularly measurable amount, but provided a great many laughs, which no doubt garnered some confusion from adjacent rooms. It continues the tradition of odd endings though, concluding on an odd note. The direction, which has changed hands between episodes four and five, is notably different, but there's no discernible difference in quality. That's to say it was still good. I look forward to the next episode but hope it shows a little more initiative or innovation than the past few.

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