How do you mash-up a 1980s politically outdated drama with a modern realistic rough ‘n’ ready sitcom like Benidorm?
During the mid 1980s, a BBC TV show was broadcast globally to millions of viewers, it was billed as a parallel world to the likes of Dynasty, highlighting the UKs own version of glamour and scandal among the rich and spoilt elite of society. The show was called Howards’ Way, set in a fictional town called ‘Tarrant’ portaying the sun-drenched ‘yottie-set’ of the Solent. The show’s main themes featured superyachts, powerboats, boardroom takeovers, high fashion, fast cars, faster sex and far too many cocktails – all entrenched in a world where money is no object and is the epitome of the ‘all-inclusive’, you might say?.
By contrast, the noughties ITV hit Benidorm was a graphic and accurate depiction of a typical Costa Blanca package holiday – so adored by Brits abroad on a budget. As with most well-known filming locations, both shows locales attracted flocks of fans thus providing huge boosts in tourism for their respective areas.
Benidorm‘s creator and writer, Derren Litten, was presented with a plaque by the town’s mayor in 2012, in recognition of his role for increasing bookings from British holidaymakers. A similar effect occurred on the Solent durng the 1980s thanks to the flashy lifestyles characterised by the writers of Howards’ Way. Millions of viewers were mesmerised by the capitalist dream projected each week, during a time when austerity was the most profound many could remember since the war.
Yet it is the richness of the characters in both programmes that fans immerse themselves in best – and let me reassure you that Howards’ Way is still cultishly popular. These two genres may seem polar opposites, but they have more in common than meets the eye.
The surprising casts that juxtapose two very different eras
Benidorm’s Crystal Hennessy Vass played by Joan Collins, is best remembered for her role as super-bitch Alexis Carrington in Dynasty, a show that without doubt was an influence on Howards’ Way storylines. Joan’s transatlantic 80s co-star, Kate O’Mara, pops up with a cameo appearance in Benidorm but she was also a pivotal star in Howards’ Way, playing a sultry leopardess and arch rival to the main character in this mash-up concept.
At this point you may be thinking my links are tenuous but I am aware that politically they are eons apart – spanning the Atlantic instead of chasing the rough and sexually diverse sunburnt Benidorm. However, I will present to you a compelling story of one character who is a divine collision of these two themes. For fans of Howards’ Way, I probably need say no more… if you do need a prompt, think of a polyester ego the size of a fully inflated spinnaker?
Has the penny dropped yet?….
Spain’s expat enclaves are the natural HQ for the ‘Leisurecruise’ empire, somewhere where its owner can mingle around folk of his own age and class while legitimately hanging onto the threads of perversion shunned by today’s progressive society.
Yes that’s right, I am talking about the one and only Ken Masters.
For those of you too young to know who this wrinkly casanova is, you can either look at 1980s photographs of your parents, or refer to this brief profile of Benidorm’s new matador of sleaze:
Move over Mateo, there’s an even oiler relic than yourself in town – it gives me great pleasure to introduce the original King of the orange perma-tan, Mr Ken Masters.
Ken is now an over-ripe 65 year old lothario, the trademark ‘player’, snake, and chancer formerly of the Solent. He is still as virile as ever, thanks to regular cocktails of Campari and viagra. He confidently displays his underdeveloped sense of sophistication by continuing to violate all modern politically correct etiquette.
Ken is always the man on top and his self-assurance comes from missing every social cue. He’s more ‘prowling’, than prowess and intends to thrust in deep with his new vision for the Costa Blanca.
Ken started life in London’s underprivildged East-End, he has a thirst for wealth as tall as a grandioso Pina Colada; he craves validity to eradicate his poverty stricken violent roots. Through wheeling and dealing, sheer brass neck and a lot of luck, Ken has been a business owner since the age of eighteen – a part he played alongside Benidorm’s Monty (played by John Challis).
After several fortuitous manoeuvres in big business and the bedroom, Ken became a formidable opponent for his high-powered enemies across the world. Unfortunately he reached a glass ceiling of his own making and it finally dawned on him he will never be part of the old boy networks he so craves; he also has no hope in today’s society of female CEOs, but he perceives their knock-backs as playing hard to get.
Ken is a man guided by his innate and unquenchable quest for status, he has recently realised he can be the big fish in a place like Benidorm, where his vulgar style and charisma are considered the height of prestige – or so he believes.
What’s the story so far?…
Ken has recently purchased one of the late Cilla Black’s properties, ‘Casa Roll’ further down the coast on the Costa del Sol. He originally moved to the area to impress and spy on ex-lover Jan Howard who has business interests in nearby Gibraltar. Ken became a fan of Cilla when he discovered her popular reality TV show Blind Date (UK Gold), was a great way to research on-trend chat-up lines. Ken’s relocation to the area is attributed to opening a Leisurecruise showroom in the illustrious nearby Puerto Banus, but he’s also attempting to stay one step ahead of the Inland Revenue who are after him for tax evasion.
Never one to relax by the pool, Ken has set his sights on expansion and Benidorm is where he’s headed.
Characters in scenes one and two:
Ken Masters (Stephen Yardley).
Crystal Hennessy Vass (Joan Collins) – Glamorous, ruthless and mostly absent Solana CEO.
Left to right: Sam Wood (Shelley Longworth) – the calibre of PA Ken can expect to hire in Beni and ladette version of himself. Nicola Elam (writer) – will assume various cameo roles to fulfill her unrealised dream of becoming a comedy actor. Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson) – hanging onto her job by the sticky flaps of her TENA Lady pads.
Be reassured that things are not as confusing as they may seem.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Ken Masters Reveals Himself in Benidorm.