Les/Lesley first came across the Solana Resort and its holidaymakers when he/she went on a blind date with The Oracle. Soon afterwards a job beckoned working behind the Solana hotel pool bar and Les/Lesley was soon joined by his son Liam (played by Adam Gillen).
Q: How did you land part of Les/Lesley?
A: I was presenting an award at the TV Quick Awards in 2007. I saw Derren at the bar. I went up to him and said, “Well done. I love the show.” Derren replied, “Would you like to be in it? What sort of part would you like to play?” By this time I’d had a few beers so I said, “A transvestite.” That’s how this part came about.
Q: What happens to your character in this series?
A: One thing hasn’t changed: I still get to wear outrageous clothes! There is also a great storyline where my ex-wife comes back (played by guest star Denise Black). She is quite a hard piece of work, and she wants our son to go back to England with her. But Liam wants to stay with his Dad. It’s quite a moving storyline. That father- son relationship works very well.
Q: Do audiences relate to Les/Lesley?
A: Yes. No matter what Les/Lesley looks like, he’s got a heart of gold. Of course, he gets it all wrong – the look, the walk, the laugh. Even when he puts on women’s clothes, he still looks like a man. I’ve put a lot of Dick Emery into his walk – he can’t walk in high heels. I nicked a lot of that. Everything is wrong, except his heart.
Q: How would you describe your character?
A: He loves life and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of how he looks. At one point his ex says to him, “What sort of father are you? You might want to take a look in the mirror.” Of course, he looks in the mirror and smiles because he thinks he looks great! That’s what Benidorm is like.
Q: How do you find it wearing Lesley’s costumes?
A: Very uncomfortable! I’m really jealous of the other characters lying around the pool all day in shorts. They can dive into the pool at lunchtime. But the producers won’t let me because that would then require a 45-minute make-up job.
Q: Why has this sitcom done so well?
A: It’s a very, very good look at what Benidorm is really like. It’s almost like a documentary. People come over here and are very surprised when they find that it is very similar to what they’ve seen on TV.
Q: Is the atmosphere good on set?
A: Yes, it’s excellent. The atmosphere is very similar to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. There is no starry behaviour, and we’re all really good friends.
Q: Finally, do you enjoy being in this show?
A: Absolutely. I love working on Benidorm. It’s a very happy bunch. It’s very rare that you get jobs like this where you’re all together all the time. In England, you film and then go home. Here we all go out in the evening after work and have a party. We’re having a fancy dress party this week with a film-star theme. I’m going as Crocodile Dundee. It’ll be another classic Benidorm night!
Benidorm starts in iTV1 on 2nd January 2015