It will soon be time to bid a fond farewell to the Garvey family who've had some crazy holidays at the Solana Hotel since Benidorm began in 2007. In an emotionally charged episode of the comedy on 9 January (ITV, 9pm) Mick, Janice, Madge and Michael Garvey hear some amazing news from eccentric California lawyer Buck A Roo (Leslie Jordan). He tells them Madge has inherited millions from a secret family member in Las Vegas and Mr A Roo invites them out to America to claim their cash.
Leaving Benidorm, ITV's top comedy show, was a very difficult decision for both Siobhan Finneran and Steve Pemberton, who play Janice and Mick Garvey, but it was one they made together...
"Benidorm has always been more than just a TV show for us,' admits Steve, who's been starring in Mapp and Lucia on BBC1 over the festive season. "We're such good friends and part of one big happy family. Working on Benidorm has been the most fun I've ever had. I'd have kept going for the rest of my life, but there are other considerations.
"It was a very difficult decision, but the amount of time we were away from home was key. We all sat down and discussed it during series 6. It's great that we had the same instinct to go at the same time. No one wanted to go on their own. So all things considered, it was absolutely the right time to leave."
The last scenes the actors filmed as the Garvey family in Spain last summer left them in tears, as Siobhan Finneran explains: "We were in a terrible state. It was our decision to stop, but it was still heartbreaking. A lot of guest stars - brilliant people like David Bradley - have said it's a treat of a job, and they're right.
"Steve, Sheila Reid (Madge), Oliver Stokes (Michael) and I have a very special relationship. There's a fantastic chemistry between us as human beings and on the screen as the Garveys. So it was really, really upsetting to say goodbye to the cast and crew. You know you're not going to work with them ever again. Then to come home and think, "Blimey, we've actually done it", is quite something."
* The Garveys final Benidorm episode will be shown on ITV, 9pm, Friday January 9.
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