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The Pink House - currently deserted, but not for long!
Well its all stations go and the clock is ticking - only 24 days to go until the clapper board will be coming down on the command of "lights, camera, action!"
The long awaited 6th series of the ITV hit comedy will begin filming - starting on Monday 25th March and continuing until the end of June. What is affectionally known as "The Pink House", located opposite Benidorm Palace and used as the reception area of the fictional Solana Hotel will once again be a hive of activity. Originally this property was built by a Spanish businessman and used as a design studio for a leather goods company.

But things have been going on behind the scenes for many months, in the lead up to this stage. I met up with Pere Agullo, the Spanish Production Manager from "Filming Spain SLU". This is the company appointed by Tiger Aspect in London who are responsible for organising everything here in Benidorm to ensure filming goes smoothly... and boy, does he have a big job on his hands!

Me with Pere outside "Blow & Go" - Kenneth´s Salon
His company has been contracted since series 3, so at least he knows what the job entails. As soon as confirmation was received at the end of the Summer one of the first things which Pere had to do was book out rooms at the Sol Pelicanos for a 4 month period. In total he told me that 23 have been reserved which are used for make up, wardrobe, rest rooms for the cast to practice their lines, in between filming and changing rooms for all the extras. It was all the more complicated as this year it coincides with the busy Easter period! Then the next most important thing is applying for filming permits to the Town Hall - you can just imagine how complicated that is... not a job I envy.

His next task was to contract the Location Team, Sparky´s - electricians, Grips - rigging technicians that lay the tracks for the cameras, Accountants (to liase with their British counterparts), Catering Company, Vehicle Hire - for both moving the equipment and cast/crew, can you believe that he has booked a total of 30 vehicles and Casting Agency for all the extras. If one link in this very complicated chain breaks down it could halt filming so its imperative that everything is 100% failsafe, with a plan B just in case! All the drivers are local as it is important that they know the area and not reliant on Sat Navs for off site shoots.

Scene at Melia for last auditions - a very long queue!
For those of you interested in becoming an extra for this series, set your alarm clocks early for next Wednesday - 6th March, as auditions are taking place at the Melia Hotel in the Rincon de Loix. Doors open at 10am, however thinking back to the last series, queues were already forming over an hour beforehand!  Interviews take place between 10am and 2pm then again from 4.30pm until 8pm.

All the extras waiting around...
A word of warning from Pere though - you MUST have a NIE and Spanish Social Security number in order to apply, if you don´t have one then don´t waste your time going as you will not be considered. This is for insurance purposes so there is no way of getting around this legal requirement. But be warned, the working day is long - you are obliged to be on call from 7am until 7pm on days you are contracted. The pay is the same - 50 euros minus Government taxes but you are fed well 4 times a day... breakfast, bocadillo (elevenses), 3 course hot lunch and afternoon snack - and the cast, crew and extras ALL eat the same food. Most of the time you don´t actually do anything.... I talk from experience as I was an extra in series 1 and it can be a long day, but you all become one big family and make lots of new friends.

Sandy at the poolside during series 5
This forthcoming series has 7 episodes and will have two Directors - like they had for series 5.  Returning once again (and a favourite of mine with his trademark moustache)  will be Sandy Johnson for episodes 5 to 7 and new to the Benidorm series will be David Sant, a Spanish born actor but living and directing in London for the last 20 years - Pere told me that David is looking forward to be able to speak in his native mother tongue again.

Pere had just returned from a three day recce with 11 members of the UK production team, checking out proposed locations for episodes 1 to 4 (I won´t spoil it and tell you where they have been though!). Among those accompanying him were the Producer & Director, Production Designer, Art Director, Director of Photography, Locations Manager and Gaffer. In mid March they will have a final intense 2 day recce when everyone involved will be present, some 25 individuals and include all Heads of Departments and even the costume department so that they can see what facilities they will have... or not as the case may be!

Currently empty "foyer" of the Solana, but not for long
Every week during filming, Pere has a meeting with the Police Chief to notify him where shooting will be taking place that week... he has nearly 4 months of this! He has to produce detailed maps of each location, marking out exactly where the crew will be parking and how many vehicles, filming spot, area required to be taped off and times of when traffic needs to be stopped for recording. If there are 2 or 3 different locations on a given day then he has to produce maps and paperwork for each one. A minimum of 48 hours are required to ensure that the technical department are notified to erect fencing to suspend parking and cut any relevant roads off. You can now see why its virtually impossible to change locations at short notice - many often ask if the weather suddenly turns why they can´t just go onto another scene... well now you know!

So you´ll soon see the road in front of the Pink House taped off as well as the road directly behind the Sol Pelicanos hotel and also outside Morgans Tavern. These are the main shoot locations - obviously if you are out and about and see a suspended parking notification it may be a clue that its a possible location for filming... who knows! I will bring you more inside news and information throughout the filming process - good luck to those going on Wednesday for the auditions.


0 #2 V. K. Sinha 2013-06-15 04:21
Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
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0 #1 DerekInTorre 2013-03-05 13:17
Penelopecasting were in charge of recruiting extras up to and including series 4.

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