Documentary series. Hayley Pearce examines the lure of sun, sea and sex and explores the lengths people will go to in pursuit of a good time on holiday.
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Holidays - if you're anything like me, you live for them.
No worrying about everyday life, no cleaning, no stress.
We work all year round, so why not treat ourselves to
a week of fun in the sun?
You can get a flight anywhere these days but most of us still
head off to the Spanish Costas.
They're cheap, cheerful and, for tens of thousands of us
every year, are a great place to escape and go crazy.
Just cocktails for breakfast, men everywhere, sun pounding.
Whether you want to go to just get a banging tan or just relax
or even just get pissed every single day, it's just fun, fun, fun.
But just how far will some of us go in pursuit of a good time?
I'm packing for Benidorm,
one of Spain's most notorious party towns, to see for myself what
really goes on when we leave our 9-5s behind.
So will I handle a week out there or will I come back a broken woman?
I'm Hayley Pearce, you know,
the tea lady from BBC Three's The Call Centre.
I'm a fairly typical twenty-something from the Valleys
just trying to get by and make sense of it all.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of us jet off in search of sun,
sea and sex.
Holidays are meant to be a break from the day-to-day grind,
the highlight of our year, but do they live up to the hype?
I'm in Benidorm, one of the top destinations for young Welsh
holiday-makers, to find out.
So it seems pretty quiet at the minute, Benidorm.
Not much sign of partying or wild behaviour.
I was expecting it to be a bit louder than this at this time.
Who knows, maybe it is the calm before the storm?
But, yeah, I've arrived now so let's get the party started.
But just a few hours later and Benidorm is coming to life.
Well, it's now early evening and the bars are rammed.
The strip is packed, it's full of fancy dress and stags and hens.
This is what I've been looking for.
I can't wait to go and have a look at it.
-Oggy, oggy, oggy.
-Oi, oi, oi!
Everybody's in the party mood but what exactly do they want out of their holidays?
Drink and sun, drink and sun.
Everyone's like... Having it. No messing about, hard-core fun.
Had the time of my life. I work hard, played harder. Let's have it!
Describe Benidorm in one word.
# Would you follow me into the jungle? #
Sounds pretty simple.
It's all about the good times, especially if you're a stag.
Oi, oi, what's happening, boys?
-Hi. How are you doing?
'I'm meeting a group of lads from West Wales who are
'over for a last weekend of freedom.'
So I take it you're the stag, then.
-How long have you been out here for?
-Only this morning.
-This morning, yeah.
-How many of you are there, then?
-24 of you?
-All farm boys.
So what are you looking for this weekend, boys?
Well, a good time, like. A good weekend, like. Son.
I'm looking to take my wife to be, I am, home, I am. I can't wait.
Anthony and the boys have invited me to tag along
on their first night out.
And it doesn't take long for the young farmers to track down
the only livestock in town.
Time to show them how it's done.
Just call me Queen Bronco.
I've had a great night but time to quit while I'm ahead,
leaving the boys to party long into the Benidorm night.
Great night last night. Absolutely banging, to be honest with you.
The square is right up my street and I'm feeling quite all right
this morning so I'm just going to have a strut around the local area
and see what it's got to offer, to be honest.
Apart from the small group of dedicated sun-worshippers,
there's still plenty of room on the beach.
What's interesting is that all the people out last night that were drinking,
they are nowhere to be seen now.
It's very quiet on the beach and it's full of all the locals
so I can only presume that they're all in bed with a hangover, maybe.
-Right, we need a prop at the back, we do.
-I'll go up the back.
But there's no sleeping in for Anthony and his stags.
Oi, oi, how's it going, boys? All right?
How are you feeling, boys?
-Oh, absolutely hanging this morning.
-How's the head?
-Oh, it's banging.
I had to have five cans of Stella for breakfast.
So how are you finding having a hangover in the sun?
-It's different to back home, isn't it?
-You're like a lobster, boy.
-He swims like a lobster and all.
So, have you got enough minerals to go back out tonight or...?
Oh, God, yeah, we have the minerals, you know.
We're Welsh farm boys, aren't we? Plenty of minerals.
The boys are knocking them back.
They're already a bit worse for wear and it's only 11am.
But, for others, a weekend escape is not enough.
Some people go on holiday and never come back.
# Love is like candy on a shelf
# You want to taste and help yourself... #
I'm off to meet some guys who have given it all up to live
the holiday lifestyle all year round.
Starting with TJ's, the only Welsh bar in town.
Bar owner Tony Jones moved out here from Swansea seven years ago.
He's getting ready for a big night of football.
In a few hours' time,
Wales play Belgium in the Euros quarterfinal. Get in!
So why Benidorm? What brings you to Benidorm, then?
It's a question I've been asked many, many times.
I still haven't got a proper answer for it.
The place is addictive but nobody can say why.
There's nothing to put your actual finger on,
it's just it gets hold of you and I love the place.
It's so great to find a Welsh bar in Benidorm.
-I bet you get loads of Welsh in, do you?
British people are very strange.
When the British go on holiday they don't seem to embrace
the culture of the country they go into.
People like a little bit of home when they go away.
We can provide a little bit of Welsh in Spain for these people.
So would you ever go back to the UK
or are you set in Benidorm for life now?
-No, I'll stay here until I die now.
What's not to like?
You've got sunshine, the cost of living out here is a lot cheaper.
You don't have to earn as much money to live here as you do in the UK.
It's... I can't... I can't think of a downside, to be honest.
Tony's decision to move out here has clearly paid off.
Someone else who is also hoping to find happiness in the sun is
Billy Bailey from Bridgend. Billy works as a prop.
His job is to rope in the drinkers off the streets and get them
into the bars.
We always come this way because then you don't walk them past the bar
next door so they disappear.
Most bars have at least one prop and tonight I'm joining Billy
as he's on a mission to pack out TJ's for tonight's big game.
So is it hard to get people in or do you get abuse sometimes?
I do get abuse.
When we had the match last week, I had somebody spit in my face
because of the football but then you have to ignore that.
Obviously, because I'm a big, fat, camp guy, I have a bit of stick for
it but then it's nothing I haven't heard before breakfast arguing
with my husband so I tend to have retorts anyway so it doesn't
really matter, it just goes over me like water off a duck's back.
What brought you to Benidorm?
Well, I decided I wanted to change my life to something different and more chilled.
I'm 35 and I needed just to go down a gear because before this
I was working with children with special needs for 15 years,
which can be quite hard and a bit gut-wrenching
so I just thought I needed a year off to do what I probably should
have done at 19 and be a big baby.
So this is why I'm doing this now, to be a man-child, basically.
-Best thing you ever did?
-So far, so good.
-OK, well, let's get to work, then.
-All right, cool, you take that side.
Look for anyone in Welsh outfits. I'll take this side.
Time to get some punters in. I think I got this.
-So we've literally got only...
-You've got this.
-You own this area.
-Watch this, then. Wales! Hi, mate.
What are you doing tonight? Come here. Never mind.
You can also shout as much as you want, if you like.
TJ's tonight, karaoke after the match. Welsh match at 9pm.
Now, if you look down there, there is a bunch of red people coming.
These are the ones we want. So if you shout loud you can get them in.
There's also some coming this way so it should be like shooting
-fish in a barrel.
-Show me. Show me how it's done.
TJ's, the only Welsh bar in Benidorm,
-showing the match tonight at nine o'clock.
-No, no, Belgium.
Boys, the Welsh bar. The only Welsh bar in Benidorm.
Quick pint down you. It's awesome. Come on, then.
TJ's, the only Welsh bar in Benidorm. Come on, guys. Come on, let's go.
There we are. Wales!
Down here. Let's go.
THEY CHANT: Wales! Wales!
'This place is buzzing and the game hasn't even kicked off yet.'
I'd like to think that I've earned my beer money for the night,
even if I was preaching to the converted.
Well, what an experience that was.
Managed to get a few Welsh people in. My make-up was melting.
It's not as easy as it looks but Billy managed to get people in and
it's actually so nice to see people working as well as partying out here.
FOOTBALL COMMENTARY PLAYS ON THE BIG SCREEN
Watching the match surrounded by all these Welsh fans,
it's hard to believe that I'm even in Benidorm.
It's more like being back home on a match day.
Just 15 minutes into the game and the mood is killed
by a Belgium goal.
But we all know what happens next.
A Welsh equaliser and we're back in the game.
The night just gets better and better.
I've never seen anything like it.
It's amazing how one moment can make everyone forget their worries
and bring us all together.
It doesn't get any better than this. Holiday or any day.
# You have to laugh
# Or else you'll cry
# You have to live
# Or else you'll die. #
What a result, what a game.
I'm so proud of Wales and I'm so happy to actually spend it
with a bunch of Welsh fans in Benidorm.
What a buzz that was, then.
It's the morning after the night before.
Benidorm's looking more crowded than ever,
and the temperature's rising.
Oh, my God, this beach is rammed.
You literally can't even move, they're like a bunch of sardines.
If you imagine having a hangover on this beach,
I couldn't think of anything worse.
But it's not just the beach that's packed.
It's not even lunchtime and the bars are already heaving.
I need five minutes in the shade.
Honestly, it's absolutely boiling, I can't cope.
I don't know how they're all doing it.
Even in this heat, nobody's slowing down on the booze.
It just doesn't stop.
By the evening, a lot of people are looking pretty out of it.
But others are just getting started.
So, girls, what's on the agenda, then?
-Lots of drinking.
-Yeah, there's lots of alcohol out here.
Yeah, and sun, boys...
Oh, it's boiling. Oh, and there's lots of boys here.
-Have you pulled since you've been here?
-Well, good luck anyway.
-And happy birthday.
Oh, Kim, it's so nice to see a Swansea girl out here.
How are you finding it so far?
Well, I come out here every year, to be honest with you,
and I love it, to be honest.
It's got the nightlife, it's got the drinking.
And, to be honest with you, with one litre, for a euro, of beer,
why would you not come here?
What's your thoughts on the whole drinking culture out here?
To be honest with you, it's hectic, it's mental,
it's a lovely place, but you don't want to be here too late
and have too many drunk people around.
Drinking and holidaying just seems to go hand in hand.
When we're away, we spend on average 50 euros a day on booze,
and when it's this cheap you'd expect a bit of trouble.
I'm joining the local police on patrol to find out how bad it gets.
So, someone's actually hit her tonight in Benidorm.
So there's obviously a little bit of trouble going on with the Brits.
Claiming to have been hit by a man on the street, the woman
is told to report the incident at the local police station.
So what's your experience with young British people out here, then?
Well, in Benidorm, the basic problems that we've found is that
they might not remember what apartment they are
or what hotel tell they are.
They might get rough with each other,
and then they just end up shaking hands and, er...
sharing a drink, and they're pals after that.
So Benidorm has got a quite high reputation of being quite wild.
Are you trying to change that reputation, or...?
Er, I wasn't really aware that it had a reputation for being wild.
-So it's good vibes in Benidorm, then?
-Oh, yes, in that sense, yes.
It's 4am, I'm absolutely knackered,
I just want to go home to bed, to be honest with you.
Every single night in the square, it's just full-on.
Like, I'm used to party people, but they're just in your face.
I couldn't handle doing that every night, no chance.
But what was really baffling, mind,
is that the police don't seem fazed by it at all.
After three nights straight on the town,
I'm beginning to wonder if there's more to this place
than just getting wrecked.
MUSIC: Push It by Salt-N-Pepa
Benidorm isn't just for us youngsters.
It also attracts an older generation
who get their kicks here a different way.
I'm meeting one of them,
a local legend and one of Wales's best loved radio personalities.
-OK, ladies and gentlemen,
I'm inviting on the stage now Mr Chris Needs, MBE.
# The night we met I knew I needed you so
# And if I had... #
Chris Needs has been coming to Benidorm for over 40 years.
Today, he's entertaining the crowd at the Palladium Bar.
# Be my little baby
# Stay with me my darling
# Be my baby now
# Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh. #
Ladies and gentlemen, show your appreciation,
one in a million, Chris Needs, MBE!
Absolutely fantastic, absolute pleasure having you down.
Thank you, Chris!
Chris knows this place inside out
and he's offered to show me around.
It's a side of Benidorm that many of us don't get to see.
So, where are we, then, Chris? Where have you brought me?
Well, this is the Old Town.
This is my stomping ground,
this is where I came first of all 40 years ago.
There wasn't much more then, 40 years ago.
I mean, that's all, up there, hustle and bustle,
but this is my place, tranquillity. It's beautiful.
And this is... oh, Bethania Chapel, Cwmafan.
Well, same headquarters, anyway.
Let's go down to the gay place, come on.
-Nice food here, tapas bars.
-Oh, I love tapas.
Tapas all around here, little restaurants,
Chinese restaurants, Moroccan restaurants...
-Pretty little streets, aren't they?
-Oh, look how pretty it is.
-Over there's nice.
'I can definitely see why Chris
'loves this part of Benidorm so much.'
It's lovely all around here, beautiful.
Look at that. What a view, eh?
-Oh, that is absolutely stunning.
So do you ever find yourself going up to The Strip?
No. Only by accident, really, I think.
I don't feel safe there. I feel quite threatened being there,
because once they're boozed up they're capable of anything.
But down here it's different. You know, they drink wine with food.
They drink wine with wine up there.
Do you think Benidorm will ever calm down?
Not as long as there's, you know, life.
I think, you know, you get a lot of tension and stress at home,
and the weather's rubbish and, you know,
you come here and it's all inclusive,
and nobody, really, has got any scruples.
You know, "Oh, You can't dress like that!" You can do what you want here.
And I think as long as that lives, Benidorm will live with it as well,
but I think this has to be here, as well.
There's got to be a choice, and you have got a choice here.
I hope it never changes, I think it's got the mix just right.
Look now, up there, all of that up there is where
the hustle and bustle was, screaming and all the rest of it.
-That's where I lost my voice then.
-You lost your voice up there? Yeah, I know.
You can lose a lot more up there, let me tell you!
And then you've got this.
-It's like paradise.
-I just feel like I'm in a completely different place.
It is, it's two different places.
-So, have you enjoyed?
-Did you expect to see this?
-Thank you so much for showing me a different side of Benidorm.
-It's a pleasure.
-You might stay here next time, be nearer.
Cheers, love. Glad you enjoyed.
It's made me think there's so much more on offer.
This side of Benidorm is lovely, but a lot of people my age
won't ever come here, and that seems like a bit of a shame.
It's my final night in Benidorm,
and I'm getting ready for one last night out on the town.
Anthony's stag do boys have arranged a special surprise for him
and have invited me to join them
at one of Benidorm's most notorious bars.
It's a magnet for stags and hens,
and it's a place where anything goes.
For many groups, a holiday experience wouldn't be complete...
without a stripper.
And for the girls in this party,
it's just a chance to let their hair down.
It's all harmless fun and everyone's enjoying themselves,
The boys arrive and, true to form, head straight to the bar.
'Even after four days of boozing,
'Anthony's still getting the rounds in.'
They've arranged a stripper for Anthony,
but first the party host has to get him inside.
Our farmer friend is looking a little bit sheepish.
Anthony might be enjoying himself,
but I'm not sure what his fiancee would think.
'And, as the show goes on,
'Anthony seems to be increasingly uncomfortable.'
Oh, she doesn't...
Oh, my God!
'Clearly, this is more about shocking than thrilling.'
'I'm just not sure if anyone is really enjoying it.'
Well, I cannot believe what I've just seen.
That was full-on, and I've seen some things in my time.
And, looking around,
I can't help but wonder if the boys feel the same way.
Is this really what they came on holiday for?
Thanks to male bravado, we'll never really know.
After a week in Benidorm,
it seems to me that everything's on offer here.
You can get anything you want, and you can see why we all go for it,
why we all drink too much, and why it's no holds barred on holidays.
It's a chance to go mad and forget the day-to-day grind back home.
It's about embracing those moments,
surrounded by friends and loved ones.
It's about finding happiness,
whatever you're into.
I love dancing, so I've brought the boys clubbing
to let off some steam before we head back home to reality.
# All my friends are wasted
# And I hate this club
# Man, I drink too much
# 'Nother Friday night I've wasted
# My eyes are black and red
# I'm crawling back to your bed... #
Benidorm, do you know what?
You've been awesome.
I'm so glad I found the Swansea boys.
I cannot believe they pushed me in the pool.
They're mad, but I did say when I came to Benidorm
that I would provide a party.
But do you know what? It is time for me to go to bed.
I hope they enjoy their night, but I'm goners.
Until next time, adios Benidorm.
MUSIC: Push It by Salt-N-Pepa
Hayley Pearce, tea lady from The Call Centre, loves a holiday. But is the lure of sun, sea and sex all it is cracked up to be? Hayley joins a group of stags and meets some of Benidorm's biggest fans. She explores how far we'll really go in pursuit of a good time on holiday... but can renowned party girl Hayley last the week?