ITV sitcom Benidorm has been given a 10th series. The holiday-based comedy launched in 2007, with the ninth series of the show beginning last night. With timeshift (+1) viewing taken into account, more than 5 million viewers tuned into this week's series opener.
Series 10 will see 1990s comedy duo Hale & Pace join the series as undercover detectives investigating Tim Healy's character Les/Lesley, who returns to the series full time. The current ninth series sees his character semi-absent after illness forced Healy to pull out of filming early.
Meanwhile, Shane Richie will star in four episodes, reprising his role as lively entertainer Sammy Valentino.
Paul Bazely who plays Troy, Johnny Vegas who portrays The Oracle, and Danny Walters - aka Tiger - won't appear in Series 10, however the Dawsons (Julie Graham, Steve Edge, Kate Fitzgerald, Bobby Knutt and Josh Bolt) all return, with Billy and Sheron set to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.
Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline), Sherrie Hewson (Joyce), Jake Canuso (Mateo), Elsie Kelly (Noreen), Selina Griffiths (Pauline), Adam Gillen (Liam), Tony Maudsley (Kenneth), Shelley Longworth (Sam) and Nathan Bryon (Joey) will also be back at the Solana for Series 10.
Derren Litten says "When I wrote the first script of Benidorm I had no idea it would change my life so dramatically over the next 10 years. As I put the finishing touches to the 74th episode I am so grateful to our fans and to ITV for giving Benidorm the best possible home we could hope for. Here's to the next 10 years!"
ITV commissioner Saskia Schuster adds: "Benidorm is very much part of the ITV family with viewers taking these wonderful characters to their hearts. Show creator, writer and exec producer Derren Litten has some great plans for the tenth series and it's a real treat to welcome Hale & Pace and Shane Richie to the Solana resort."
Today's news makes Benidorm one of Britain's longest-running television sitcoms, as few UK situations comedies make it to ten series.
Last Of The Summer Wine comes in at first place with 31 series, whilst ChuckleVision totalled 21. Equalling Benidorm's ten are The Liver Birds, Are You Being Served?, Shelley, and Rab C. Nesbitt, whilst Never The Twain and My Family each ran for eleven. Red Dwarf will hit twelve series this year, equalling Mike & Angelo and Birds Of A Feather, the latter of which is expected to return for a thirteenth series in 2018, also on ITV.