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​Sun, sand and learning lines: The Benidorm life’s a beach for Shelley Longworth

Shelley Longworth (Alamy)
Shelley Longworth (Alamy)

BENIDORM star Shelley Longworth has gone from late-night partying to early-to-bed family-friendliness.

The hit ITV comedy returns for a new series this week and Shelley says domestic circumstances mean she’s seen all the resort has to offer.

The reason is simple – her two and five-year-old kids, Morris and Herbie.

Shelley, who plays Sam in the Spanish-set sitcom, had been in the show in 2011 and 2012, but left when she became a mum, before returning two years ago.

“It’s a great place for families, with the beaches and water parks and zoos and everything,” Shelley told iN10. “So, before and after having the children, I’ve seen all sides of the place.

“When I was first there I was with my now-husband Jimmy and we’d go out as a couple. I’ve seen the drunken madness and the karaoke and the tribute acts.

“And now as a family we hire a car and spend the time together. When I wasn’t on the beach learning my lines – and yes, I know there are worse places to learn your lines – I just kept thinking it was the best job ever.”

Sam [Shelley Longworth] and Dodgy Dave [Mickey Starke]. (Tiger Aspect)

Shelley admits she was thrilled to be asked back to the show for the past two series.

With the kids young enough to come with her and Jimmy’s work as a photographer affording the flexibility to come, too, the months of filming passed perfectly.

Now 42, Shelley is savouring being a mum-of-two with the children coming along a little later.

“I’d always wanted to marry and have a family,” she confirms. “You have to meet the right person and I was 31 when I met Jimmy – and it took him six years to propose.

“I’m a bit old-fashioned and I wasn’t going to have kids until I was married.

“Then we had a family and Jimmy was like, ‘I wish we could have some more’ and I just said, ‘Well, you should have proposed to me sooner then!’

“I feel very lucky that I have got my family.

“I’m a very hands-on mum. I love to play with them and do silly voices and play different characters. But because they’re boys we’re outdoors and kicking balls around a lot, too. I love it.”

Doing different voices is second nature for Shelley. As well as acting, she’s one of Britain’s most in-demand voice-over artists.

Sam [Shelley Longworth]. (Tiger Aspect)

Being able to pop along to a studio for recording sessions has worked ideally, as did having the family with her for the past two years of Benidorm filming.

And soaking up some sunshine as well as starring in a show she loves made it a double delight.

“We are doing nine episodes now and we filmed from March through until the middle of July,” she explains.

“They do a lot of the interior shooting in the early months when it is a bit chillier, and then do the round-the-pool stuff later.

“By the end it was actually getting ridiculously hot, about 40 degrees.”

Sam returned to the Benidorm fold as a worker, not a holidaymaker, and this series she’s up to her old scamming ways right from the opening episode featuring Joyce and Monty’s wedding.

Although all of this series’ high jinks are long-filmed, Shelley already knows about more Benidorm capers on the horizon.

She is one of the regulars who has been signed up for a new Benidorm stage play that’s set to undertake a nationwide tour later this year.

Shelley knows that’s something for which it just isn’t practical to have the family in tow.

But she’s determined that it will give her the opportunity to pursue another of her passions, writing. One previous project was being considered by a US TV network.

“On days when we have the luxury of only having one show, I won’t know what to do with myself,” she adds.

“I’ve written stuff before and when I’m in those hotel rooms I’ll have the time to write again. I don’t whether it will be a drama or comedy, like I’ve done before, or maybe try my hand at a children’s book.”

Benidorm, ITV, Wednesday, 9pm.