The Holidaymakers! Sky1 - TV review

Under the warm Spanish sun, with a pool to cool off in, these three very different families soon learnt to get along

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The Independent Culture

There’s a free, all-inclusive family holiday on offer to anyone willing to take part in Sky1’s new reality show The Holidaymakers! There’s also a catch; you’ll have to share the "luxury" villa with a bunch of complete strangers, deliberately chosen by the producers to press your buttons.

The first families to accept this challenge were the Prestons from Ayrshire (grumpy dad Jimmy, mum Claire and their two adorable daughters); the Jenkins from west Wales (white-man-with-dreads Tim, his wife Nannw and their two grown-up children); and the Stevens-Biggs from Shropshire (hairdresser Matt, his boyfriend Gareth  and their rambunctious 10-year-old Jaydn).

Jimmy’s take on the gay dads was wearingly predictable: "Not saying it’s wrong, or anything like that, but I don’t really want it flaunted in my face." Sigh. Matt had a similar on-sight aversion to Tim’s dreadlocks: "I could just shave it off, just look at him!" This should have been a recipe for rows – certainly that’s what Sky1 must have been hoping – but The Holidaymakers provides a much less pressurised environment than Wife Swap  or Come Dine with Me.

Under the warm Spanish sun, with a pool to cool off in, these three very different families soon learnt to get along. As it turned out, Tim was great with kids, Jimmy had a sense of humour hidden underneath his gruff, homophobic exterior, and Matt was polite enough never to proffer his hair-dressing talent, unless requested.

Eventually Tim did make that request and the resulting makeover (bleached crop, fake tan, waxed eyebrows) had Tim’s wife Nannw wailing with distress. But even that upset wasn’t quite enough to threaten the holiday harmony. It did, however, prompt ex-solider Jimmy to deliver the episode’s best line:  "I’ll be honest with you. I’d rather be at war right now than dealing with some of these fools up in here."

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