After surviving a record-breaking 33 days of vote-offs, it was a bizarre bust-up with good mates Carla & Angie that led to Paul & Matt's elusive red card. What was the real story behind their exit? Glass of Schnapps in hand, we caught up with coach veteran Paul for a chat about his time on the show.
How did it feel to finally get a red card?
"We were absolutely fine with it, because we were absolutely knackered by that point. The first few weeks, we'd talk about where we were going next and get really excited, but towards the end we started talking more about what was going on at home. We were more looking forward to going home than what was coming next."
When did you start to flag?
"The last week was quite tough. For no reason, really - they were a great group of people - but we'd been there for so long. When you watch it on TV, you can't really tell how draining it is. It's 16-hour days living out of a suitcase."
It must have felt like you lived on the coach..
"There were some days when it would take five hours to get to an activity. That was quite monotonous and not fun. But if someone had said to us before we went on, 'you can go on a drive with Brendan for five hours', I'd be well up for it! But after a while, the novelty sort of wears off."
Did you ever feel you could last the full 50 days?
"I don't think we could have, really. Once we got a bit more tired, we thought we weren't making the most of it and it was best to let someone else have a go. We tried to keep Ron and Debbie on so they could have a longer stint, but as soon as the tiredness set in we didn't have any interest in staying."
Do you think if you'd not been voted off, you might have left of your own accord?
"We got voted off on the Friday, but I think Matt and I had agreed that if we were still there on the Tuesday, we'd leave. It was coming to a natural end."
What actually happened to a cause a rift between you and Carla & Angie?
"I think the main reason was that we tried to save Ron & Debbie. It was nothing against Vin & Lin at all - we really liked them - but I think because we were really tired, we wanted to let other people have a longer go. To be honest, I was a bit of a tw*t really and didn't really handle it as well as I could have. I've got nothing against Carla and Angie at all, I think they were quite entitled to react the way that they did."
In what way were you a tw*t?
"We were obviously really knackered, and on that last day I didn't make an effort to speak to them. I could see it wasn't the way it had been [between us], so I should have probably gone out of my way to speak to them. I never did, so that's entirely my fault. It was obviously going to be an awkward conversation to have as well, so I just kept putting it off and off."
Have you reconciled with them now?
"Yeah, we get on really well. We had a night out in Sheffield about a month after everyone got back. We all agreed it was a bit stupid that we fell out, because we got on really well beforehand. So we put it behind us and got drunk."
And how did you really feel about Jenna?
"She's lovely. She's great! I don't think getting drunk on Schnapps was the best move."
How about Tam & Jayson? Have you stayed in touch with them?
"There's been bits and bobs, but it got a bit dodgy towards the end. I really respect Tam because he's very competitive, like I am, and I think he's a bit gutted they didn't last a bit longer. When he got sent off, he wasn't too chuffed. I think if he was in the same position we were in, he'd probably have done the same as us. To me he took it a bit too personally. But it wasn't anything against them, it's just the way it went."
What caused the Bruce incident?
"Well we'd had the weekend off before that, and he'd taken a dislike to Jayson over the weekend. We had that little party on the coach, which probably wasn't the best idea, then he just went absolutely mental. It was quite scary because it was just a small coach. Then Brendan get involved. I think Jayson is a really nice guy, but very outgoing, and you can see there would be a potential personality clash with people who don't find him endearing. Also I think Bruce was adamant about this clique and that Jayson was the ringleader, which wasn't true."
You and Paul are the most successful Coach Trip couple ever. What advice would you give to future contestants hoping for longevity on the show?
"Just be yourself, really. We didn't have a gameplan, we just got on naturally with Jenna & Jodie, and Jayson & Tam, then Russ & Caroline came on and we got on really well with them. So we were lucky, really, with the people that came on."
What was your favourite Brendan moment?
"When I got really drunk on Schnapps, there was a bit with him consoling me, which was hilarious. The bit with Yannis, too - a really really good double act there!"
So Paul & Matt are gone, but what happens next? Hit 'play' below for your exclusive preview of tonight's show:
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Additional reporting by Nick Levine