Steve Pemberton: My Life In Travel

'It's always magical to be in Royston Vasey - a place we dreamt up'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

A little chalet in Abersoch, Wales. I remember wet sand and constant rain. The only entertainment was Welsh-language television; it was utterly miserable.

Best holiday?

Backpacking in Thailand. I went with very little money and had a whale of a time. It was very liberating. I refused to call myself a traveller - I was a tourist on holiday.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Royston Vasey. We film The League of Gentlemen in a place called Hadfield in Derbyshire. Because we arrive when the town has been dressed, it's always Royston Vasey to us. It's magical to be in a place that you've dreamt up. You can even go on a tourist trail now and some of the shopkeepers have decided to keep the signs that we made - Jenny's Café became "Burger Me Fast Food Restaurant" for a while!

What have you learnt from your travels?

If it says "please confirm your flight", you should do it. When I left Thailand I wasn't allowed on the flight because I hadn't confirmed my ticket. It spoilt the end of the holiday, because I had to spend my last night in Bangkok without any money, relying on the kindness of strangers.

Ideal travelling companion?

Alan Bennett, who's a hero of mine. He'd be great fun and very entertaining, but also know when to sit down and read a book.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I've got two kids, so holidays are very different now, but I've always enjoyed unwinding.

Greatest travel luxury?

I've just bought a new digital camera. It's amazing and it's great to have something in your back pocket to film the children.

Holiday reading?

My girlfriend and I just returned from a holiday in Spain without the children, so I was able to read In the Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. I wouldn't have been able to read it with the kids around, and I really enjoyed it.

Where has seduced you?

It's probably a cliché, but Venice. I had always dreamt of going, especially after watching Don't Look Now. When I was there I went out at night on my own in a thunderstorm and got totally lost.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive. I don't mind travelling, but I have to mentally check a series of things like tickets, passports and so on before I can relax.

Worst travel experience?

I went to Egypt recently to film Death on the Nile. It was being co-produced by an Egyptian company and I was told I would be met at the airport. When I arrived there was absolutely nobody there. I suddenly felt very foreign. I had no phone numbers, so I went to the hotel I was supposed to be staying in and there was no record of my booking. However, after that I had an amazing time.

Worst holiday?

I once went to Malta on my own to unwind after a long series of live shows. Where I stayed was pretty horrible - full of English people and English pubs.

Worst hotel?

When I toured with a theatre company we stayed in some awful dives. There was one in Burnley, which probably isn't known for its hotels. The door handle in our room fell off, the tap water was brown and it was so cold that we slept in our coats, huddled together.

Best hotel?

We recently took my mum to Dubai for her 60th birthday and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I loved the Ritz-Carlton, because it was small with great service and was totally luxurious. The Jumeirah Beach was like an upmarket Butlins - it was too big and sprawling, with families everywhere.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I hate driving, but my brother has a house in Nueva Andalucia and there is a new toll road from Malaga airport, which I really enjoy driving along. There's never anybody on it and the scenery is beautiful.

Best meal abroad?

We had a meal in a restaurant called Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. The meal was spectacular and I really enjoyed the whole pantomime of it. You go down in a simulated submarine and there's a huge central aquarium, so it felt as if you were underwater.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I'm a big Teletext fan; it's my daily source of news and entertainment so I usually check that out when it's available.

Dream trip?

My girlfriend's about to have a baby, so holidays will be quite limited for the next few years. When the kids are a bit older I'd love to do something adventurous like trekking in Peru.

Favourite city?

It'd have to be Venice. It's breathtaking when you first arrive and see the view.

Where next?

I'm on a 55-date tour of the UK. Thankfully, our tour manager prides herself on finding the best hotels, so we tend to live quite comfortably while the rest of the crew have to sleep on the tour bus!

The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You live tour will be at the Brighton Centre tonight, and will run until mid-December at venues in Bradford, Llandudno, Plymouth, Southend, London, Manchester, Portsmouth, Leicester and Sheffield (for further information visit www.thisisalocalshop.co.uk).

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