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Series / Benidorm

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Welcome to the all-inclusive Solana resort. Enjoy the comedy and your stay.

Benidorm (2007-2018) is an award-winning British comedy-drama set in the well known Spanish resort of Benidorm after which the show is named, with an Ensemble Cast. Broadcast by ITV.

The series officially concluded in May 2018 after ten seasons and 2 specials. A stage adaptation, Benidorm Live, ran from September 2018 to April 2019.

This work contains examples of:

  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: Just about, but it's the older sister who has the baby.
  • Action Mom: JANICE. Technically an action grandmother.
    • Also her mother Madge, making her a Action Great-Grandma.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Les. See Tyrant Takes the Helm
  • All for Nothing: Throughout Series 5, Joyce's motivation is to get the Solana upgraded to a four star resort. She succeeds in the last episode by bribing the assessor but in the last episode of Series 6, the company's CEO orders her to remove the fourth star as it doesn't fit with the overall tone of the company and raises customers' expectations too much.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Les/Leslie should count as one of these, but Liam thinks overwise.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Michael in the first three series.
  • Ascended Extra: Les/Lesley was a minor recurring character in Series 3 before reappearing in the Christmas Special and becoming a regular from Series 4 onwards.
    • Asa Elliot first appeared in the Christmas Special auditioning to sing at the Benidorm Palace's Christmas show before becoming Neptunes' full-time singer in Series 5.
  • As Himself: Neptunes' resident singers Shaun Foster-Conley (Series 1 - 4) and Asa Eliot (Series 5 onwards) are always credited as themselves.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When Tiger is posing as a German footballer and Terri as his agent (see The Con); whenever they speak between themselves to better sell the image, they just say random nonsense that sounds vaguely like German.
  • Asshole Victim: Hotel critic Victor St James is a boorish jackass who tries to pay Trudy €20 for sex and only agrees to give the Solana a good review in exchange for a hefty bribe. He ends up being kidnapped and having his organs harvested. YMMV on whether or not this was Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Ass Shove: All but stated outright that this was how Jacqueline smuggled various items into prison for Donald including magazines, money, and a George Foreman grill. Though not in her ass.
    • 70 year-old magician Sticky Vicky’s (Who appears in Series 3 As Herself) conjuring act is the inverse of this with props including the flags of all nations. But like the above example, it doesn’t involve her ass. Martin and Kate’s expressions after watching her show pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it. As does the reaction of the crowd at the grand opening of Mel’s Mobility Shop when she produces a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Mateo looks much better in drag than Les.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Mr Dixon in Series 5. Nobody suspects for a second that he's actually the hotel assessor sent to evaluate the Solana.
    • Also Carmen, Kenneth's salon assistant. Nobody considers that she might be the mole who's providing the Costa Blanca Citizen with negative stories about the Solana because she doesn't work for the Solana, her lie that she doesn't speak English, and that nobody knows that she's actually in league with Janey. Her mother.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Janice. She may seem like a put-upon Straight Man with a few ditzy moments but if you piss her off or hurt her family, she will (as she puts it) "get medieval on your arse".
    • Donald and Jacqueline. See Black Comedy Rape
    • Michael. When Jack plays a prank on him and Tiger while they are at sea on a Pedalo by pretending to be a shark, Michael refuses to give him a lift back to the shore and punches him in the face as soon as they are back on dry land.
  • Big Eater: Geoff
    • Donald
    • Kenneth. He’s banned from all but one Chinese restaurant in Benidorm and has to bring his own reinforced chair when he eats there.
    • Big Donna. She was banned from most of the all-you-can eat restaurants in her area, but is tolerated at the ones in Benidorm.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Rob Dawson looks after and is very protective of his little sister Jodie.
  • Bilingual Bonus: At the Solana’s 1980s night in Series 4, Pauline sings Rock Me Amadeus.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Donald and Jacqueline decide to get revenge on Mateo for cheating on hotel worker Kelly by luring him to their room and… well, when Martin accidentally walks in on them; Mateo is gagged and handcuffed to the bed, and Donald and Jacqueline are wearing rubber gloves and cheerfully covering a cucumber in lubricant.
  • Blatant Lies: Pretty much EVERYTHING that comes out of Geoff's mouth. Somewhat subverted in the fact that he does actually seem to have a degree of success in his lies, such as everything to his mother and the claim of knowing 5 languages.
  • British Brevity: Each series is only 6 episodes long, apart from Season 2, which is 8 episodes. 9 if you count the special that follows directly on from it. A slight inversion happens as of the Easter Special, when each episode has a runtime of roughly 46 minutes, twice as long as Series 1 and 2. Which is uncommon for a straight sitcom.
    • Now averted because (as of 2015), it has run for seven series and two specials with an eighth series due in 2016.
  • The Bus Came Back: A number of characters return either in guest appearances or full time after being Put on a Bus including Geoff, Noreen, Martin, and Janey.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Kate had a fling with Mateo in Series 1, a decision she bitterly regrets. On his second attempt in the next series, she viscerally and unambiguously rejects his initial advance. Since he is such a serial shagger he doesn't actually remember her at all, and figures she's just hard to get. It's when she gives him a good, hard slap around the chops for his persistence (like she did shortly after sleeping with him the year before) that he remembers.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Micheal delivers a verbal smackdown to his grandmother Madge; pointing out that the reason she's horrible to others isn't because she's old, but because she is genuinely a nasty person.
  • Camp Gay: Kenneth.
  • Camp Straight: Liam shows shades of this at times. Kenneth is convinced that he's actually Camp Gay.
  • The Casanova: Mateo.
  • Character Development: Michael starts off as a hyperactive Annoying Younger Sibling, but ends the series as a mature teenager.
    • Tiger is much less of a selfish, manipulative Jerkass in Series 7, possibly as a result of his friendship with Michael.
    • Mick is much less of a Lower-Class Lout later on in the series, and his relationship with his wife is much more stable than it was in the first three series.
    • Mateo has very few, if any, redeeming qualities in the first three series, but undergoes quite a bit of character development in later series and becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, mostly due to his friendship with Les/Lesley.
  • Character Focus
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Weirdly, Donald and Jaqueline. They do seem to care about people despite their promiscuous mentality, and are some of the nicer people in the cast.
  • Christmas Episode
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Clive Mitchell, Noreen's travelling companion in the Christmas Special. Despite them getting engaged at the end of the episode., he's never seen or mentioned again.
    • Amber Platt. She was a regular character in series 8, and at the end of that series she was working at the Solana and going on a date with Rob. But she doesn't appear and isn't mentioned at all in series 9 or 10.
  • Comic Trio: Mateo, Liam, and Les/Lesley occasionally form this in Series 5. It's most prominent in the fourth episode when they try to prepare a paella for a visiting hotel critic.
  • The Con: The Garveys fall victim to a serial con artist in the Series 1 finale who charges them €5 a head to rent sunbeds on the beach. She later turns up in Neptune’s trying to scam money out of Troy and Gavin, allegedly to help a sick child. Janice notices her and a thoroughly deserved arse-kicking ensues.
    • Gary Snelling’s stock-in-trade; cheating Mateo out of €100 in a game of chance using Exact Words, stealing Donald and Jacqueline’s phones and €60 under the pretence of modifying them so they can make free calls, and running a scam where he cons the elderly into selling him their homes at a ridiculously low price which he then sells on to property developers for a huge profit. It’s also implied that he cheated Mel out of €5000 by offering him a cut of this scheme. Oh, and of course he robs every room in the Solana with Brandy.
    • Tiger Dyke is also very adept at this, as his entry for Karma Houdini shows.
    • The Dykes as a family pull off two of these:
      • : After Michael and Tiger lose money to Mateo on their volleyball match against Donald and Jacqueline (The latter have an unfair advantage in by wearing spring-loaded shoes; which Mateo, who is refereeing, allows), Clive bets Mateo that Tonya will win that night’s karaoke competition. He eagerly agrees, seeing her practicing and noticing that she’s utterly terrible. It turns out this was a front and she absolutely smashes the competition.
      • In Series 6; Clive falls victim to a property development scam where he puts down thousands of Euros on a villa that the seller doesn’t even legally own, and his family team up to pull a reverse one. Tiger poses as a rich European footballer named Gunther and Terri as his agent, convincing the developer that they want to buy the entire lot of villas so he will refund Clive’s deposit plus compensation.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Over seven series and two specials, everyone seems to go on holiday at the same time, on the same days. Granted, some of them are staying for two weeks, which gives a larger margin for error in some cases, but it's still there.
    • The Ensemble Cast element alleviates this to some extent, plus in the UK certain weeks, such as school holidays, more people go on holiday than at other times.
    • At one point, Janice notes that she sees Donald and Jacqueline at the Solana every year. Donald reveals that they book the same week every year.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mick, Madge, Gavin, Janey... let's just say everyone.
  • Denser and Wackier: Series 1 rarely strayed from the hotel and stayed pretty grounded. Years later; we have plots involving loan sharks, gangsters, and the Hairdressing Mafia.
    • Best illustrated by comparing the Series 1 and Series 7 finales. In the Series 1 finale, the Garveys visit the local beach, Michael suffers a Potty Failure in the hotel pool, and Martin and Kate deal with the aftermath of her sleeping with Mateo. In the Series 7 finale, Mateo is held hostage by his shotgun-wielding mother-in-law.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Completely inverted with Gavin who is one of the more prudish characters. When he discovers that the beach Kenneth has taken them to on a day out is a gay nudist beach, he freaks out and calls the sunbathers “degenerates”.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Madge probably only gets away with many of the things she says because she's elderly and in a mobility scooter all the time. Though she doesn't really need the scooter as she's not really infirm, she's just lazy.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In protest at Joyce reneging on her promise to give them a free holiday, Donald chains Jacqueline to a pile of sun beds by the pool and swallows the key. This creates a problem when Joyce caves in sooner than they expected.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Liam to Natalie in Series 4.
    • Tiger to Annie in Series 7.
  • Double Entendre: Almost everything Donald and Jacqueline say.
  • Faking the Dead: Donald tries this at the end of Series 4 as part of a life insurance scam. Series 5 reveals it didn't work.
  • Family Business: After Madge and Mel get married, and Mel later dies, Mel's sunbed business looks like becoming this.
  • Family Disunion: There are so many arguments!
  • Fan Disservice: A big part of the show involves seeing fat and unattractive people in swimsuits...just like holidays in real life.
  • Freudian Trio: Joey (the Id), Tiger (the Ego) and Rob (the Superego).
  • Friendly Enemy: Mateo and the Oracle.
  • Flair Bartending: Mateo attempts this. He smashes every bottle he juggles, but acts like nothing's happened.
    • A younger barman named Jason who has a talent for this arrives in Series 6 Episode 2 and he and Mateo engage in a cocktail competition to decide who takes Mateo's job.
  • Funny Foreigner
  • Giftedly Bad: A lot of the karaoke singers - just like in Real Life - when it's not being played for heartwarming, that is.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Martin in Series 3.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Largely averted with Mateo, who generally uses Spanish during seduction attempts.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Joyce has a hot flush when Mateo and Jason start fighting in her office, ripping each other's vests open in the process.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Goes hand-in-hand with the example further down.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Occasionally.
  • Hidden Depths: Mateo is an accomplished Flamenco dancer.
    • Years spent doing his dad's nails has helped Liam develop manicurist skills worthy of a professional.
  • Honey Trap: Brandy’s entire relationship with Martin is a front to rob the Solana.
    • She also sleeps with Mateo to steal his staff room key.
  • Hypocrite: A lot the characters a lot of the time, but a shining example happens as a Continuity Nod in the fourth series. In Series 2, Mick was in massive financial trouble, but when Janice got on at him about it, he kept saying things to the effect of "We're on holiday, we can just push it aside for now". Fast forward to Series 4, and he's deriving quite great enjoyment from Madge being in the same boat.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Madge confuses Beef Medallions with beef curtains. Mick's reaction to this is utterly hilarious.
  • Insane Troll Logic: After becoming angry with her GP, Madge angrily claims that he isn’t a real doctor since his wife used to be married to a vicar. This is promptly Lampshaded by Janice.
    • In Series 4, she hysterically claims that a freak thunderstorm is a terrorist attack and later claims that the excellent weather the following day is part of a cover-up.
  • Insult to Rocks: When Liam is compared to "One of those rats who can't get out a maze but keeps trying", Natalie is scolded and told "But rats are intelligent."
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: When Martin gives his "Reason You Suck" Speech to Brandy, she seems pretty unfazed until he calls her unattractive.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Michael and Liam
    • Noreen and Gavin. Eventually.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Pauline has a trio of these in Series 4 Episode 5; She first asserts to Les that she is sober moments before collapsing, shortly afterwards says that she “certainly does not need a drink” before leaping on Jacqueline like a wild animal to steal her vodka and orange seconds later, and later bitterly says to Noreen that she makes it sound like she (Pauline) can't function without alcohol before diving into her bag for a discreet swig of mouthwash.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Janice's young male admirer, Jack, who seems blind to the fact she's already married.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mick.
    • Madge is also this, when she's not being a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk.
    • Arguably Mateo in later series, after his somewhat antagonistic role is toned down.
  • Karma Houdini: Jacqueline suffers no legal fallout from her and Donald’s life insurance scam thanks to being good friends with a judge who is a fellow swinger. Donald has to take the fall though.
    • Tiger. Bloody. Dyke. In the space of seven episodes; he aggressively barters down the price of hiring a mobility scooter and hires it with a fake ID so he and Michael can sell it at the at the end of the hire period, crashes the scooter when drunk, gets Michael drunk and persuades him to get the word “Benidorm” tattooed on his forearm in massive letters, steals a pack of Solana wristbands and sells them to the public for €20 each, steals Madge’s herbal tanning pills and sells them to an upper class stag party claiming that they’re drugs, steals another mobility scooter and gives it to Madge to get back in the Garveys’ good books, and sets Elena’s Pedalos out to sea when it becomes clear she’s not interested in him. And he gets away with everything thanks to a combination of circumstances and being a worryingly Consummate Liar
  • Locked in a Room: In Series 5 Episode 5, Noreen and Gavin end up trapped on Gavin's balcony. Gavin's animosity towards her fades considerably when she offers some surprisingly profound advice about him cheating on Troy, and completely disappears when the fireworks display at the Solana's party for the visiting Olympic synchronized swimming team starts
  • Long List: When Mateo tells Noreen that Jeff is a Muffalatta (gay) she asks what it means. His response is a rapid-fire list of euphemisms for homosexual lasting almost twenty seconds.
    • Pauline's confrontation with Mateo after she finds out the staff will no longer serve her alcohol:
    Pauline: Apart from your own narrow-minded prejudices, on what do you base the wild assumption that I’m an alcoholic?
    Mateo: You drink all day and all night, you do not eat, you stagger around smelling of alcohol, you cannot remember which room you are staying, you find it difficult to stand without swaying from side to side, and you spend every night sitting on your balcony singing and crying until the early hours of the morning.
    Pauline: And just because of that, you assume I’m an alcoholic?
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Approaching this with only three of the original cast (Madge, Geoff, and Noreen) slated to return for Series 8. All of which have been Put on a Bus at various points.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Mick can easily fit into this trope; he was a benefit's cheat claiming disability allowance falsely for years, and is incredibly tight with his money, usually only doing something outside the hotel if it's free.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Mateo falls victim to this several times which he vehemently denies. Though his dalliance with Troy in Series One suggests otherwise.
    • Janey is under the impression that Pauline is gay, telling Mateo “Do not serve the angry alcoholic lesbian”.
    • Rob once drank too much and couldn't get back to his hotel room. Luckily, Giles, a university friend of Rob's, spotted him and helped him back. Rob's parents saw them together and wondered if they were a couple. It probably didn't help that both Rob and Giles had their arms around each other, Giles was dressed up as the construction worker from the Village People and Giles said he was "Trying to get this young man into bed".
    • Rob again, when he is about to introduce his new girlfriend Cyd. Because of her name and a garbled text message, his family aren't sure if Cyd is going to be a man or a woman until she arrives!
    • Kenneth refuses to believe that Liam is straight. His somewhat camp mannerisms, crossdressing father, and sensitive demeanour don’t help matters
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Martin mistakes himself for one after sleeping with 23 year-old Bianca Dyke but remembering nothing of the evening. As she leaves his room, she tells him it’s her sixteenth birthday just to mess with him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Mateo by an undercover police officer in Series 4 Episode 6 thanks to him being in drag and a lot of Accidental Innuendo.
    • Callum, after hooking up a businesswoman in a motel, finds out she left a lot of money behind for him the morning after!
  • Mistaken Identity: During one of the Christmas Specials, Madge finally gets her revenge on Su Pollard for snubbing her when she asked for an autograph over 25 years earlier... only for it to turn out that the person she was actually upset with all this time was Rod Hull. Oops.
    • Particularly ridiculous since Su Pollard is neither a man, a puppeteer, nor been dead for over a decade.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end of the Christmas Special contrasts wildly with all funny scenes that came prior.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Brandy in Series 3 and Bianca Dyke in Series 6.
  • Multigenerational Household: Grandparents, parents and children all going on holiday together.
  • Mushroom Samba: Chantelle deliberately invokes this when she realizes that the diarrhoea pills Madge took from Brandy’s bag are actually ecstasy and slips her one. Intoxication Ensues and Madge subsequently belts out “Up Up And Away” at the karaoke while high as a kite.
    • Donald reminisces about a recreational drugs phase he and Jacqueline went through during the 1970s that included her being high on Magic Mushrooms for four days thinking she was a barn owl.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: In Series 1, the Garveys' teenage daughter Chantelle is five months pregnant which she hides by wearing a large winter coat at all times. The pregnancy is discovered when the heat of the karaoke lights in the hotel bar combined with her wearing the coat causes her to faint.
  • Naked People Are Funny
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Mateo, after a rather vigorous waxing session.
    • Not to mention Martin in series 3.
  • Need a Hand, or a Handjob? : Hilariously played with in series 4 with Mateo.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Most of the characters, despite the all-inclusive bar leading to them all drinking to excess regularly. Hangover on the other hand kicks in all the time.
    • Averted in Season 4 with Noreen's daughter Pauline.
  • No Indoor Voice: Clive Dyke when he loses his temper.
  • Noodle Incident: Martin’s mother’s past is never explained but her being well known by the nickname “Dirty Diana”, recognised by Donald and Jacqueline, and propositioned by Mateo of all people is certainly a clue.
    • We never find out exactly how Janice got revenge on Mohammad for trying to scam Madge. Though all the evidence points to an attempt at medieval torture.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Said almost word for word by Mateo when Natalie and Sam see him being bundled into a police van after he is Mistaken for Prostitute.
  • One-Steve Limit: Extremely narrowly maintained, between Mel Harvey and the Garveys.
    • Averted in series 10, when holiday rep Sam Wood and washed-up entertainer Sammy Valentino both appeared.
  • The Pollyanna: Regardless of how insane or invokedSquick-inducing the situation gets, Donald and Jacqueline will always be cheerful and upbeat about it. Donald even looks back at his time in prison with a positive attitude. Until his personal “Mr Big” (an armed robber named Lenny Chapman) arrives at the Solana.
    (On sifting through a bathtub of his own faeces to retrieve a key he swallowed)
    Donald: It was rather like the closing round of "It's A Knockout" but all good life experience.
  • Pool Scene - Multiple times an episode - the pool is the main characters' hangout of choice.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Tiger rarely understands his father’s pop culture references.
  • Put on a Bus: Happens to a number of characters thanks to the programme’s revolving cast. Though sometimes The Bus Comes Back.
    • Narrowly subverted with Mateo, who is quite literally put on a bus to Madrid, but reappears the next episode.
  • Rich Bitch: Tonya Dyke. Also her daughter Bianca who is implied to have had a series of rich boyfriends and become used to a high standard of living.
  • Riches to Rags: Madge after Mel dies in a considerable amount of debt
    • The previously successful Cyril Babcock is found sleeping rough in Benidorm after ending up in a Thai prison on a false pubic indecency charge and his successful escape attempt kills five elderly inmates and the prison cat.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Garveys embark on this when it turns out that Mohammad's planned marriage of convenience to Madge so that she could easily retrieve €50,000 that Mel invested in a Moroccan bank account before his death was an attempt to scam her, with the normally level-headed Janice planning to "get medieval on your arse".
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Madge uses her age as an excuse to be horrible to others, which her grandson eventually points out has more to do with her being just a nasty person than being old.
  • The Scrooge: Donald. Big time. After swallowing the key he used to chain Jacqueline to a pile of sun-beds, he’d rather gorge himself on curries and coffee and then relieve himself in the bathtub to get it back than pay €15 to rent a chain cutting machine. This even extends to when it’s not his own money, physically stopping Clive from driving on a toll road (while the car is in motion no less) because it costs €3.
  • Shout-Out: Mick often insults Mel and Madge by comparing them to various celebrities and TV characters such as calling them "Davros and Doctor Who".
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Jack towards Janice.
  • Spit Take: Done by Mick. See Innocent Innuendo.
  • The Sociopath: Jack is seemingly a very mild version of this.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jack towards Janice. It gets quite creepy in series 5.
  • Straight Gay: Troy.
  • Supreme Chef: Mateo. Les is also revealed to be this, having worked as a chef on an oil rig before Liam was born.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Callum, for Tiger, in series 10. It's even lampshaded a few times!
  • Teen Pregnancy: 'Telle in Series 1.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Janey in Series 7.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mateo from Series 4 onwards and Tiger Dyke in Series 7.
    • Madge temporarily when she mistakenly thinks she's dying. It doesn't last.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Tiger is this to Michael in Series 6.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In Series 6, Joyce goes on holiday and leaves Les in charge with the implication that doing a good job could lead to a promotion to assistant manager for him. Acquired Situational Narcissism kicks in immediately as he adopts a hardline management approach that annoys most of the staff and reduces the hotel to chaos within hours.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Invoked in the case of Kenneth. Although his salon is at the Solana, it’s an independent business and the space is rented, meaning that Joyce has no power over him.
  • Use Your Head: Subverted. When Janice headbutts someone in the face, her immediate reaction is “Fucking hell that hurt”.
  • Vacation Episode: Every episode, unsurprisingly.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Happens retroactively in Series 6. When Madge mistakenly believes that she has less than a month to live, she becomes a much more caring, introspective, and generous person. Much to the surprise and worry of her family. She instantly snaps back when she discovers the truth, prompting Mick to note almost happily that “Madge is back”.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Heavily Invoked in the case of Les/Leslie. He is quite probably the nicest, least selfish and least confrontational person in the entire cast.
  • World of Snark
  • Your Costume Needs Work: It takes a while for Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward to convince Janey that they aren’t a tribute act.


Video Example(s):


Benidorm opening titles

A row of men with their backs to the camera in Benidorm's opening titles expose their untanned builder bums above their board shorts.

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