'My family loved caravanning!' Shane Richie packs his bags for a UK travel adventure

Caravanning With Shane Richie

Actor and entertainer Shane Richie takes his family and friends on a travel adventure exploring some of the UK's best caravan parks for a new Channel 5 series, which starts tonight. So how did they get on?.....

As a young lad growing up in London, Shane Richie always looked forward to the annual holiday spent with his mum and dad on UK caravan parks.

"It was the sense of community and the freedom as a kid you had on site that I loved the most," says Shane, who relished the whole experience so much he snuck away at the tender age of 15 to start work as a bluecoat for Pontin’s.

Now, in a new four part series, (see our TV Guide for full listings), the actor and entertainer, best known for playing EastEnders’ Alfie Moon, is hitting the road with family and friends, and is on a mission to convince them and the great British public, that caravan parks are some of our best kept secrets as he journeys to North Devon, The Isle of Wight and Yorkshire.

Here Shane, 56, whose first destination is North Wales with his brood; wife Christie, their three kids Mackenzie, Lolita and Romani and his in-laws, Jackie and Phil, tells us about his adventures in Caravanning with Shane Richie, which starts this evening….

Why did you want to make the show?

Shane Richie: "We’ve got all these fantastic places on our doorsteps in the UK so I thought it would be great to give a bit of a personal insight and offer some tips and share my own experiences. The documentary is very much warts and all."

What are your own childhood holiday memories?

SR: "We’d always stay in either chalets or little static caravans which were very different back then. I remember the curtains never met in the middle, the doors never seemed to fit the frames properly and you had those toilets that you had to pump to make them flush! Happy days!"

Shane Richie with his family on campsite

Shane Richie with his family and in-laws on a day trip to Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre at Great Orme

What adventures did you get up to in Wales and what were some of your highlights from the rest of the series?

SR: "I took everyone to the dry-ski slope in Llandudno and we also went zip-wiring 400 feet over a quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog although it was a very windy day and you could smell the fear that ran among my family beforehand. Later in the series I met up with my son Shane Jnr in Yorkshire and I also go to a place called Ichycoo Park on the Isle of Wight where I stayed in the most incredible caravan, it had a big jacuzzi outside and flat screen TV over a bath. It was like something for a rock-star. I could imagine Liam Gallagher designing it!"

Shane Richie with his family

Shane and his family on a day trip to ZipWorld getting ready to zipwire across a quarry

What did your family make of the trip to Wales?

SR: "No-one wanted to come back they loved it so much. You think of all that money you could spend on Disneyland, or five-star hotels in Barbados or wherever posh people go, and actually my kids remember more about what they did in Rhyl and doing things like playing rounders on the beach, than they do about anything else."

Did the trip make you nostalgic for your days as a Pontins bluecoat?

SR: "It did. Going back to the Isle of Wight where I first worked, was a real trip down memory lane. There were times when we weren’t lucky with the weather. I know what it’s like being an entertainer from my days as a bluecoat. When you wake up and see it pouring outside, your face drops because you know you’ll be hosting a LOT of bingo! But Christie and the kids couldn’t get enough of the bingo, they were so into it I couldn’t tear them away from their dabbers!"

Shane Richie with his family

The Richie family relaxing in their caravan

What else have you got coming up?

SR: "I’m currently on tour in the play, The Entertainer, then at Christmas I’m in panto in London and after that I put my heels again on to play the drag queen in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Beyond that, who knows, maybe I’ll be off caravanning again!"

Caravanning with Shane Richie starts on Friday 15th October on Channel 5 at 9pm.

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.