The red cards are poised, the Segways are on standby and our favourite tour guide is back in business.
Brendan Sheerin is pinning on his name tag tonight for Coach Trip: Road to Marbs. The new series is following in the fake-tanned footsteps of Coach Trip: Road to Ibiza, whisking a coach-load of 18-30 lads and lasses to the Mediterranean sunshine for sea, Sangria and, ahem, well you can guess the rest.
“Oh yeah, romance is in the air, definitely,” Brendan tells RadioTimes.com. “But I can’t tell you much about it!”
It’s the second more ‘youthful’ series of the show, which aired on Channel 4 teatimes for 13 series between 2005 and 2015 before making the move last year to E4 and straight into a primetime 7:30pm slot.
“I think we can get away with a little bit more on E4 and it’s their dynamic isn’t it?” ponders Brendan. “And of course for me it’s better. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing the pottery and the art classes and things like that, but you do get a lot more high energy activities like wake boarding and skiing because that’s what young kids want to do.”
So does this mean that it’s the end of the road for ‘regular’ Coach Trip?
“I don’t know actually,” says Brendan. “I think at the moment E4 are very, very happy about it. I think E4 thought we’ll be happy with 300,000 to 400,000 people watching it, and we’re getting over a million viewers.
“I think the format – the basic format – won’t be ever, ever, ever changed. But we do have to put little twists like that in the vote to keep it a bit fresh and as long as the viewing figures are high and maintain their million mark they’d be silly not to [commission more series]. We’ve doubled, nearly trebled what they anticipated figure-wise.”
He believes one of the main reasons the show is so popular is that it’s silly, fun viewing for all the family.
“There’s no bad language,” he says. “It’s not one of those programmes where we need to all swear to impress people and that’s what I love about it – and all generations that like to watch it.”
Some fans, however, are a little too enthusiastic.
“In the past there were a couple of lads and the younger boy was really really besotted with me,” chuckles Brendan. “And so much so that we were down in the Mediterranean, I had a straw hat and I put it above where I sit in the little bins on the coach.
“I always keep my hats up there and my spare jumpers and coats. And this boy actually came on the coach and got one of my straw hats out and he was caressing it. He didn’t know that somebody was on the coach guarding it and watching him do everything, and then he put it on his head and was smelling it.”
Speaking to Brendan, it’s clear just how much he loves the show and how much he loves his coach. Which is just as well because another Coach Trip: Road to… series has been announced by E4, with the 500 episode mark lurking around the corner this summer.
“Once I get on that coach I think ‘Oh yes, you’re home dear’. And it is my home for the moment.”
For the moment? Does that mean that there will come a time when Brendan isn’t wearing his name tag and bringing out the flags on the coach?
“Until,” he says, “I decide that I have enough money to get that little cottage in Yorkshire and I can retire and I’ll have my little hens, a vegetable patch and a couple of pugs.”
It’s about as far away from Marbs as you can imagine, but the eventual end of Coach Trip – whenever it may be – almost certainly won’t spell the end of Brendan lighting up our screens.
“Some of the other big programmes would like to see me certain places,” he says of starring on reality TV. “But unfortunately when they’ve asked me to do it, I’ve always been on the coach and I’ve always been filming. And because Coach Trip is my bread and butter… I would never do anything other than Coach Trip, although I’ve been invited to do may other things. But we’ll have to watch this space and see.”
Strictly Come Dancing, perhaps?
“Yes, you never know,” he says coyly. “I used to be an Irish dancer so I might be able to do a jig around the floor.”
Coach Trip: Road to Marbs starts Monday January 16th at 7:30pm on E4