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Reality TV Interview

Brendan Sheerin ('Coach Trip')

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Brendan Sheerin ('Coach Trip')
There's only one thing more exciting than the new series of Coach Trip beginning on Channel 4 next week - the return of Brendan Sheerin, the show's inimitable tour guide. This is a man who could drop a double entendre in his sleep, knows a "philistine" when he sees one and looks almost naked without his trusty clipboard resting on his hip. Keen to find out more about the new series, we called Brendan at his Spanish des res for a few teasers.

Were you surprised when you found out Coach Trip was being resurrected?
"Not really. What really shocked me was the amount of recognition I got after the show was transmitted. People would stop me at M&S or Manchester airport and just be so positive about the show. Channel 4 transmitted it at 8.30am and then again at 4.30pm so it got a big student following and became a bit of a cult programme."

Why was there a gap after series two?
"I think the only reason that series three was delayed was because of Deal Or No Deal. Deal Or No Deal went out and took all the ratings and they really went to town on it. But then Channel 4 were inundated with emails saying, 'What's happened to Coach Trip?' and that's what brought the show back."

Why do you think it's built this cult fanbase?
"What people love is that they can sit in their armchairs in England and watch us seeing all those wonderful places and doing all these wonderful activities - it's like a travelogue. Then there's the second part, the more interesting part, which is when they all start to vote!"

What's they key to avoiding the vote?
"The secret is to network, get popular and make sure nobody wants to vote for you. If you do that at the beginning, nobody's going to turn around and give you a yellow card. There's a couple in this series who stay on the coach for the longest ever time - and it's simply because they played the game to perfection."

How does the new series differ from the previous two?
"I think series one allowed people to get the gist of the programme, series two was a bit better, but series three is more polished. The contestants have sussed it all out and they really know what they're doing. We have gone back to some of the same places on this series, because you can never have too much of somewhere like Venice. Me showing you St Mark's Square in Venice... does life get any better?"

Did the Coach Trippers appreciate your expertise in Venice?
"Honestly, they were more interested in the bloody pigeons not pooing on them! We're in this wonderful square, I'm trying to tell them about all the treasures the Venetians brought back from the Holy Land and what do I get... 'Oh, is that a pigeon?' I said, 'Oh darling, haven't you seen one before? There's 60,000 of the things in bloody London.'"

Do you have a favourite couple from the series?
"Well, there's a lovely black girl from Brixton called Ivy and her boyfriend Graham, who's a bit of a Del Boy type. She used to come down every morning in a different outrageous outfit - gold blouses, honestly! She wore a different coloured wig every day and because I'm follically challenged I was tempted to borrow one! Ivy was a lovely girl but what she lacked in intelligence she made up for in the fashion stakes. We were in Switzerland and I took her up Mount Titlis - well, you can imagine what that was like! - and showed her the glacier. God love her, she thought it was a man-made tunnel."

Did you fall out with any of the couples?
"The only problem I had was with two ladies from London who joined us in Vienna. One was very sweet, but the other was a bit stuck up. She thought Coach Trip was a bit beneath her and we had a row over her vodka consumption. She wanted to drink vodka at lunchtime and I got really firm with her and said no. The contestants are allowed wine and beer to drink with their lunches but only a glass or two because they have to cast their votes later on. If they're drunk, I could get other members of the group saying, 'Her vote doesn't count because she was pissed when she made it'. Anyway, I put my foot down, she didn't like it and they left Coach Trip the next day."

What do you get up to when you're not filming Coach Trip?
"Well, after series two of Coach Trip a dear friend of mine wanted to expand his restaurant and asked me to come in with him. It's called Bistro Europa and it's down near the beach in Torremelinos. I do front of house mainly. One evening in November I had a lovely couple come in and the lady said to me, 'I can't believe it. I've come all the way from Auckland in New Zealand and I watched you on your Coach Trip last week. Here you are giving me a bloody menu!' It was incredible."

Are you bookable for private coach trips?
"I can be booked... at a price. I don't do it for free love!"

Coach Trip returns Monday at 5pm on Channel 4.

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