Panto season is almost upon us (oh yes it is!), so we caught up with Benidorm actor Tony Maudsley, who’s swapping sunny Spain for Arabian nights in Swansea
Best known for playing loveable hairdresser and hot-pants-wearing Kenneth in ITV comedy, Benidorm, Kirkby-born Tony Maudsley, 49, is gearing up to star as the Genie in the Aladdin pantomime at Swansea Grand Theatre this Christmas. Here’s what he had to say for himself…
What attracted you to the role of Genie of the Ring?
I think the fact this character is called the Genie of the Ring immediately had me interested – I mean, it sounds like a character straight out of Benidorm! Straight away I could see the comic potential, and they’ve asked me to play a genie based on my Benidorm character Kenneth, and with the ingredients of Kenneth and rings – there’s plenty potential for laughs and naughtiness!
Have you starred in panto before?
Last year I played the Dame in Jack And The Beanstalk in Nottingham with the Chuckle Brothers, and that involved 13 or 14 costume changes, which is such hard work, it really is. Then I thought the Genie, he’s only going to have one costume isn’t he?! So I thought that will make life easy for a start.
How are the outfits this time around?
I haven’t got my outfit sorted yet, but I have been told – as it’s based on Kenneth – there’s going to be plenty of flesh on show, so I just hope I don’t put the kids off their Christmas dinner! I’m sure there’ll be lots of spangly hot pants!
How does panto compare to starring in Benidorm?
The obvious difference is the immediate response from the live audience. We get so much brilliant comedy to do in Benidorm, but we never know if it works, because it’s very rare that we get a laugh while we’re doing it. There’s no immediate reaction to gauge anything from – even if the crew laugh during the filming of a scene, we generally just assume they’ve got a bit of wind!
What do you love best about starring in Benidorm?
Ohh, five months a year in Spain for a start; five months of sunshine. Also, I love my character, I’m so fond of Kenneth. He’s a naughty little minx and I’ve got huge admiration for him. He’s such good fun to play because he’s a likeable character, so he gets a brilliant response from the Benidorm fans, therefore I lap all that up when I bump into them in the street. It’s a lovely job.
You’ve been doing Benidorm for eight years now. Have you got plans to move on anytime soon?
No, I’m not ready to hang up my hot pants quite yet. I thought I would be by now, but I’m not. I still have such a lovely time – the thought of stopping Benidorm makes me sad.
What do you love about Wales?
I love the people, I love the beautiful countryside, love the coastline – and Welsh cakes! Love them, and I actually went to drama school in Wales. I went to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and I can honestly say I spent the happiest three years of my life in Cardiff, so I’m thrilled to be coming back to Wales. I’d have stayed in Cardiff had I not wanted to be an actor – I needed to get to London, but had I spoken Welsh, I’d have happily stayed and done Pobol y Cwm for the rest of my life!
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My laptop, sadly. My whole life is on my laptop, so if I lost it I’d be completely up the swanny.
Who is the most famous person saved in your phone?
Julie Walters! We’ve worked together three or four times, I’m very proud of my Julie Walters contact in my phonebook. I don’t phone her much, but it’s nice to have it!
What’s been your worst ever job?
I did a milk round for about three years from the age of 15, which I hated. I hated the 5am starts and doing two hours delivering milk in rain and sleet and snow before even getting ready for school, but it was a good job in that it kept me in cigarettes and chips as a teenager. But I completely blame that milk round for failing all my O-levels – I could hardly stay awake in lessons. It wasn’t my lack of intelligence!
How would you describe your ideal day off?
Lying in bed all day watching The Apprentice with Chinese takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner – crispy noodles with chicken, or kung po chicken and fried rice with barbecue pork and pineapple, oh it’s gorgeous.
What would be your death row meal?
A childhood favourite, steamed – it’s got to be steamed and not baked – jam roly poly and custard, and a glass of milk, that’s my absolute favourite. My dad normally makes it. And it’s got to have raspberry jam, not strawberry jam.
What would be your luxury item if you were being sent off to a desert island?
I’d say my laptop again but there’d be nowhere to charge it, so maybe my dog, Bosie, but then if Bosie snuffed it, I’d have lost out on my luxury item – he might not cope with the hot weather!
What would be your dream career role?
The one thing I’ve not done that I’d like to do would be to play Lenny in Of Mice And Men, it’s such a brilliant role, and something I should knuckle down and do really – I’ll be too old soon to play him.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
Oh God – probably a model! Haha!
Which three celebrities (living or dead) would you invite to your ultimate dinner party, and why?
Definitely Julie Walters because she’s always funny; Stephen Fry, because he’s so clever, his intelligence baffles me and he’s so interesting; and thirdly, that git Adolf Hitler, just to say, ‘What the hell were you thinking?!’ It’d be quite a mix, wouldn’t it?!
:: Aladdin is on at Swansea Grand Theatre from 15 December 2017 until 14 January 2018. Book tickets at www.swansea.gov.uk/Aladdin2017