Benidorm‘s Christmas special is dedicated to, and built around the death of Mal Harvey, which was necessary because the actor playing him (Geoffrey Hutchings) did actually die. The episode explores a brief period of wealth in the lives of the Garvey family. Following season features some of the old characters, but also has a significant influx of new ones. The Garvey’s come without their older daughter, Chantelle; Mrs. Maltby comes accompanies with her daughter instead of son (she also takes the place of Kate Wheedon as a person who constantly whines about how awful this holiday is); the fatter Ramsbottom comes with a friend instead of his long-time partner; the Stewart couple is as filthy and adventurous as usual; there’s also transvestite man Les with his son; young girl Natalie with her friend; and, as usual, Mateo the bartender.
It would seem that the change of the series’ format is followed, with certain timeout) by the change of the essence, which is basically a drift from comedy towards dramedy, although considering a heavy admixture of emotional bullshit of various kinds, I would rather call it melodramedy. It becomes increasingly story-centered (with the Garveys in the core) rather than environment-centered. It also becomes less and less amusing – I don’t even want to use word ‘funny’ here, because there wasn’t a single funny joke in the whole season.
As soon as I watched the special, I realized how perfectly mediocre this whole thing is; while watching the 4th season I was looking searchingly for any reasons to keep on doing that in the future as well, – alas, I didn’t find any. There is no hope it would ever evolve into something better; that is, there is some development, of course, but the direction of it leaves pretty much no chance of growth. Which is why I’m not going to torture myself any further.
Created by: Derren Litten
Directed by: John Henderson, Sandy Johnson
Written by: Derren Litten
Performed by: Jake Canuso, Janine Duvitski, Elsie Kelly, Tony Maudsley, Adam Gillen, Shelley Longworth, Selina Griffiths, Tim Healy, Paul Bazely, Sheila Reid, Crissy Rock, Steve Pemberton, Siobhan Finneran, Oliver Stokes, Kenny Ireland, Hugh Sachs, Kathryn Drysdale, Shaun Foster-Conley, Louie Spence, Brian Murphy, Su Pollard, Asa Elliott, Cilla Black, Neil Fitzmaurice, Denise Welch, Melvyn Hayes, Michael Fenton Stevens
Time: 5h18m (a. 7 episodes)
Entertaining quality: 3 out of 5
Art quality: 4- out of 5