Benidorm is Beni-done

THERE seems to be a truth in television that popularity will eventually lead to the downfall of a programme.

The more people like a programme, the more the masters of the channels will seek to feed their love, no matter whether or not there is any mileage left in that series.

The seemingly ever-present Masterchef is a great example and has undergone a re-formatting to keep its large audience interested.

Occasionally, the makers of a programme will decide their baby has developed enough, and refuse to make any more.

Ricky Gervais did this with The Office, Peter Kay with Phoenix Nights.

Unfortunately, those behind another hit comedy have failed to see their well has run bone dry.

Benidorm surprised a lot of people – myself included – when it hit our screens in 2007.

It was unusual for a start because it was on ITV and it was actually funny... something which no other sitcom has achieved in decades.

Benidorm took a very flimsy set up, added pantomime characters and actually managed to work.

The writing was sharp, the lines delivered well by the majority of the cast.

Unfortunately it all dried up in the last series.

The beginning of the creative end was clear to see in the woefully unfunny Christmas special.

And now it’s returned with a re-jigged cast featuring new faces and returning old ones.

The revamp has not been big enough for Benidorm to feel fresh and some new faces seem to have the exact same personality traits as those they’ve replaced.

Those remaining have largely run their course, especially the once scathing, now increasingly grating, Madge.

The biggest mistake with Benidorm was the decision to stretch each episode out for an hour, starting with the last series.

Comedy works better over 30 minutes because it forces the writers to be ruthless with the jokes they include.

Having 60 minutes to work with one main plot thread and perhaps a couple of minor stories puts a lot of pressure on writers to keep the joke rate high.

Unfortunately, they have failed to do that.

It’s been difficult to sit through the entire hour of these first few episodes and even harder to justify switching on ITV at 9pm on a Friday.

Series creator Derren Litten has announced this series will be his last working on Benidorm.

Let’s hope the right decision is made and ensure it ends with his departure.

n I received a highly amusing letter from an incredibly eloquent reader who is clearly a follower of the culinary messiah, Jamie Oliver.

Said reader seemed to have been riled by my negative views of Oliver’s latest show Jamie’s Dream School.

Unfortunately, the letter writer had failed to include his/her name, which meant it could not be printed.

While I was accused of displaying a set of backward views in this letter, I will allow myself to be forward-thinking enough to offer my ear to this aggrieved reader, should they wish to discuss our respective views.

Get in touch or pen another letter, I beg of you.