THE BBC has acquired the rights to produce an English version of a Belgian independent producer’s format comedy show called ‘Benidorm B……ds’.
The rights have already been sold for a version in the United States, called “Off Their Rockers”. The concept is the well tried candid camera style, but here with the twist that all the protagonists are elderly curmudgeons, between the ages of 60 and 80, and who play their tricks on unsuspecting youngsters.
In August last year, Benidorm Mayor Agustin Navarro threatened to sue producers after expressing his “distress and concern” upon learning of the television comedy series. With countries like Italy, Germany and from Scandinavia expressing an interest for the comedy spoof, Mayor Navarro was worried about the negative impact it will have on Benidorm’s image.
Although the production format is a success, so far no mainstream Spanish broadcaster has taken on the program for fear of offending. Similarly, it is thought that the BBC, like in America, the actual title of the show may be changed to reduce chances of upsetting people.
The program consists of a series of sketches, filmed with a hidden camera, where the mission of the elderly team is to cause embarrassing havoc on the unsuspecting innocents, who are even more taken in by the fact that those playing the jokes on them, are normally associated with being the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of practical jokes.
The core team are not professional actors but are all recruited from genuine retirees, and as such have a natural feel to their approach. The scenes are all filmed in public places, and the producers say that the concept of hapless elderly entrapping young folk gives rise to endless hilarious scenarios.
By Paul Deed