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tv preview; Hollyoaks to Ole-oaks.

Byline: Steve Hendry

THE Hollyoaks blokes were flown to Spain to film Finn's raunchy stag-night celebrations.

The special episode entitled Hollyoaks - The Movie goes out tomorrow at 11pm, the second late-night edition of the hit Channel 4 soap.

Viewers will see the randy lads chase local talent, but best man Lewis lays down the Law of the Stag at the airport - whatever they get up to must remain secret.

But it's a safe bet nothing is going to go to plan, especially with Tony looking to sabotage the wedding between his mate and his mum.

It sounds like nice work if you can get it, but for actor Ben Hull, who plays Lewis, getting there at all was an achievement.

"I did a fear-of-flying course last year and it was a good job I did because we were in the air so much getting to and from Barcelona I've had to do a fear-of-walking course now," he joked.

"The days I wasn't working out in Barcelona I was on EasyJet heading back to Liverpool to film and then flying back to Barcelona. It's not something I'm ever going to enjoy, but at least I can get from one place to the other."

Filming a special in Spain might sound like a working holiday but a fortnight later Ben insists he's still getting over it for all the right reasons. Well, almost all the right reasons.

"It wasn't easy," he says. "I think I've almost recovered now. I've been drinking a lot of water and trying to get as much sleep as I can.

"Actually, it was a lot of work and no play. We were staying about 40 minutes from Barcelona and we couldn't be bothered going into town by taxi.

"There were no girls from the show there so it was all lads together. And we got up to all the usual laddish stuff. My bar bill was absolutely enormous."

Hollyoaks last late-night special dealt with male rape. This time out, it's a less harrowing subject although, as ever, nothing goes smoothly for the hapless Lewis.

Despite his own on-screen trials - and all that hard work - Ben is a fan of the new format. "The first late-night we did was adult and shocking and I thought this one was going to be along the same lines. But it's very, very different.

"It has a lot more action sequences and lads running about and screaming.

"It's very raunchy in places, absolutely hilarious in others and sometimes a little bit sad.

"I think it will show Hollyoaks in a different light again.

"The late-night slot gives us a lot more freedom. In our regular time-slot you stub your toe and say: 'Oh, bother!'

"Being in a different time-slot means you can really say what you mean."

Filming so close to transmission put the pressure on the actors, but it was nothing Ben and his colleagues aren't used to. "The pressure was on because if we lost the location out in Barcelona, what do you do? We had to cheat and film some stuff back in Liverpool. It's difficult, but it's always the same.

"Hollyoaks is like any soap in that it's ongoing and relentless. It's always a bit difficult because you're filming stuff out of order and re-shooting stuff quickly if it's not quite right. Filming by the seat of your pants is about par for the course.

"A joke we always crack is we've got to get this now otherwise it's going to be: 'Tonight, live from Chester... Hollyoaks!' We could give Coronation Street a run for their money!"

Although Hollyoaks takes storylines to the limit in their late-night shows, there are no plans for a live episode to match Corrie's on Friday. It's something Ben would love to try his hand at - and sooner rather than later.

"I'd definitely be up for that," he says. "I trained as an actor so I can remember my lines, but I think one or two might find it difficult." He refuses to name names, but obviously has certain colleagues in mind who might struggle with such a project.

"I hope I'm around for something like that.

"There's that old statistic to consider - 90 per cent of all actors are out of work at any one time.

"But I'm doing a job I love, with people who are mates.

"If you enjoy what you do, I think you should stick with it. If you don't enjoy it, that's the time to leave.

Sports Personality of the Year (Sunday - BBC1)

Steve Rider, Sue Barker and King of Crisps Gary Lineker host the grand prix of sports awards shows. Our Olympic stars will take centre stage.

Cold Feet (Sunday - ITV)

The girls head for Rachel's hen weekend at a health farm, while the boys take Adam to hometown Belfast for his stag bash. There's trouble in store for both.

Trust Me (Monday - C4)

Nick Bateman, Big Brother's Mr Nasty, hosts a new game show. Two groups have to trust each other - or not, as the case may be, for cash rewards. Should be fun.

Back to the Floor (Wednesday - BBC2)

Millwall's millionaire owner Theo Paphitis becomes the football club's dogsbody for a day. The Cypriot tackles the rotten jobs - and even dons the dreaded mascot costume.

Friends (Friday - C4)

Cracking double episode to bring series to a finale. Chandler plans to propose to Monica (Courteney Cox, above) but has competition when an ex, Richard, turns up, hoping to lure her away.

Revealed: How Mel B-ecame a pop star

RADIO 1 DJ Trevor Nelson gets an exclusive insight into the private life of Scary Spice Mel B in the new series of The Players' Club.

Nelson's show - which begins on BBC2 on Tuesday at 9pm - quizzed the singer in the privacy of her home.

The DJ has produced a candid portrait of the pop superstar which is not quite warts-and-all but is certainly eye-opening.

Mel B has rarely been out of the headlines since becoming famous with the Spice Girls in 1996, followed by her marriage to, and divorce from, dancer Jimmy Gulzar and the birth of her daughter, Phoenix Chi, in February, 1999.

But the programme veers away from pop star glamour and heads for a family party in Leeds.

There, Mel talks frankly about her life as a Spice Girl and the pain of a failed marriage.

Proud parents Andrea and Martin tell of Mel B's childhood and the early days of her career, when times were so hard their daughter only survived because of the cash they sent to her.

Nelson also interviews Mel B's grandparents and friends about her elevation to celebrity.

The DJ chats to Mel as she drops off her daughter at nursery before going back to the day job - promoting solo album Hot.

Stone thieves' day of destiny

A GAELIC drama, with subtitles, is not the sort of thing I would normally recommend.

But An Ceasnachadh (Interrogation Of A Highland Lass) is based on one of the most daring incidents in Scotland's recent history - the recapture of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey in 1950 by Scots patriots.

The film - shown on BBC2 at 8pm on Tuesday - tells of the intensive cross-Border search for the ancient relic.

Kathleen MacInnes stars as young teacher Kay Matheson who is questioned by police hunting the raiding party.

Switch off...

HOLIDAY, BBC1, Tuesday, 7pm. Under the weather? Needing a holiday? Then don't watch the BBC's long-running travel show. With the lone exception of Rowland Rivron's trip to Cornwall, the exotic destinations remain well out of reach of families who don't drive a people carrier.
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Title Annotation:Steve Hendry TV
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 10, 2000
Previous Article:ALISON'S DIARY.
Next Article:wedding of the week; Jools and Paul invite you to their wedding.

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