06 February 2015

TV: Benidorm 7.6

This is quite easily the strongest episode of Benidorm since the Garveys jetted off for Las Vegas. By slowing things down, Litten is able to examine the mad array of characters he's created, and in doing so, produces a much more interesting episode than one full of madcap coincidences and occurrences (though those are of course still present to a certain degree).

The three main plot strands to follow this week involved Janey and Joyce, Geoff and Noreen and (answering my prayers!) Clive. In the first of these, Philip Olivier once again shows up as (ex?) conman Jason, who swindled the Solana in previous years. The new father, who's probably best known to readers of this site as Seventh Doctor companion Hex, puts in a reliably confident performance and totally sells the return of his character, always looking for the next f***. And it does of course make complete sense that he's Janey's nephew. Before long the pair are up to no good and have bagged themselves a couple of positions at a fancy five-star, meaning that after just one day, Janey returns the management of the Solana to Joyce. I can't say I'm sorry to see Janey go, but there's sure to be some fireworks in next week's series finale.

Geoff and Noreen get some quite touching moments in this episode. Misinterpretation is part of the language of Benidorm, to the point where it's often (intentionally) predictable. When Litten abandons this, however, some real drama emerges from this pairing. Trapped in a lift for a whole day, they're given plenty of time to talk, yielding some of this week's best scenes. I'd like to see Litten given the opportunity to write some 'proper' drama, as the prowess he shows here is pretty impressive. Over the course of their conversation, it emerges that Geoff is adopted, and it's really quite touching when they go to dance at the end, throwing off all British embarrassment ("She's not my PA!") and just expressing love for one another.

Clive manages to drop himself right in it here. After spotting schoolfriend Melanie when pops out for a dongle, he ends up giving her and her aged business partner Monty five big ones as a deposit on a property. The two swindlers of course neglect to tell him that they don't actually own the land the shell of a property, and all those around it, are built on. Clive, who's never exactly been the brightest button, naturally neglects to check out any details before signing, and is now up to his neck in it. His confrontation with Monty in the last episode promises to be dramatic. I was glad to see Clive get more to do, but it was a shame to see Tiger and Terri just lounging on the sunbeds again.

All in all, then, I was glad of this relative calm before the storm next week will undoubtedly be. We learn more about the world Derren Litten's created, making this enjoyable and dramatically satisfying. Whilst all the madcap sitcom antics are more than welcome in my opinion, it is nice to have a brief respite. Everyone seems to have wanted a day off this week, and in doing so, it's only made me more eager for next week. Very good.

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