COSTA DEL CELEBRITY
Costa Del Celebrity, the Channel 5 reality travel show in which a group of five celebrity friends team up for some sun, sea and fun on the Costa Del Sol. In this case, the friends are none other than Vicki, Anne Diamond, Nick Owen, Ainsley Harriott and Christine Hamilton. Follow them as they trace the footsteps of over five million British holiday makers who take to the Costa Blanca every year but while they will be staying in the same villa together, each of them are looking for something completely different from their holiday! Each episode sees the famous five head off in different directions in a bid to sample the local delights, culture and cuisine while visiting Benidorm, Valencia, Madrid and various other resorts in between but who does speak the best Spanish, cook the best paella, find the best wine or dance the best flamenco. Only time will tell!
Week one and our intrepid travellers arrive at the stunning Casa Rio Grande, their home for their stay in sunny Spain, and it doesn’t take long for them to put on their swimming costumes and make full use of the pool not to mention enjoy a few cocktails into the bargain!
An early start the following day, sees the gang head off in different directions with Anne, Nick and Ainsley taking off in search of a little local history. Their destination is the Cathedral of Valencia, which is reportedly the resting place of the Holy Grail. Meanwhile Vicki and Christine find themselves in the company of one of Spain’s most highly regarded Paella chefs, Toni Montoliu for a lesson on how to cook authentic Paella! Paella is a dish that traditionally uses local ingredients and it just so happens the local ingredient in this area is snails! It proved quite a task collecting said snails. Now those of you that know Vicki, know she is a great campaigner for animal welfare and that extends to all living creatures! So as fast as the snails were being captured, she was doing her best to release them. Could this be the reason for the lack of snails in the finished dish? Don’t tell Christine!
Next it was a visit to the Moros y Cristianos Festival in Valenica where according to tradition, the Moors go into battle against the Christians! Apart from a great deal of music, dancing and celebration, battle reenactments play a vital role in the festivities and here is wear our celebrities had to fight their own battles dealing with 40 minutes of extremely noisy gunfire! Put a whole new meaning on the holiday going with a bang!
Week two and the team head into Benidorm. First stop is the Penny Farthing Café. Not surprisingly the sight of 5 famous faces eating a full English outside a Spanish café attracts quite a lot of attention with passing tourists! And what other way to follow said full English than with a knickerbockerglory! When in Spain!
After breakfast Anne, Nick and Christine make a beeline for the beach to top up their tans, Vicki and Ainsley do a spot of retail therapy in the local tourist shops! Sporting I love Benidorm T shirts, it's off the to the crazy golf course where Ainsley gives Vicki a lesson in how to swing a golf club Well she might not have quite got the stance right Ainsley but she did get a whole in one!
And what better way to end the day than by sampling the local cuisine? So back at the villa, Nick orders a curry!
Just when you think things can't get any more British, the next day dawns with torrential rain and a howling gale, the perfect opportunity for a Spanish lesson!
With their new found vocabulary under their belts, our intrepid explorers go in search of more local culture as Ainsley introduces Nick to the delights of dried octopus and the girls take in the sights of the nearby coastline before indulging in a few fruity cocktails!
Back on the history trail, this time at Denia Castle Nick proves to the group that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, namely the 200m entrance tunnel to the castle after which Anne and Ainsley allow Christine to partake in her greatest passion by taking her on a sailing trip.
All well and good but who's organizing dinner? Have no fear, Vicki and Nick are head off to Gandia and the local fish market in search of tuna. With Vicki's dad a former fish wholesaler at Billingsgate she's bound to know her onions or in this case her tuna! Knowing your fish is one thing but getting the hang of the bidding system at auction is another! Don't think Ainsley got exactly what he expected for the bar b q! Good job he's a great chef!
Week three and the gang are up at stupid o’clock to travel the three hundred odd kilometres northwest to Spain’s capital, Madrid as they go in search of passion! And what is more passionate than flamenco dancing? The journey sees a two hour car ride followed by another two hours on board Spain’s rather impressive rail network before arriving at Madrid’s Atocha station amid the fabulous tropical gardens complete with turtles. It’s ok Vicki, It’s not a dream, you’re not back in the jungle!
While Christine, Nick and Ainsley take in all the sights via an open top bus, Vicki and Anne head off to the shops to look for that perfect flamenco dress. Well if you’re going to a flamenco show, you have to look the part and look the part they did! There was just time for a spot of light refreshment in the form of Churros before making their way to the evening show. Well perhaps not that light if you’re counting calories but hey, when in Spain …
If Vicki and the gang had been looking for passion on their trip, they certainly found it at Cardamomo with probably the finest display of flamenco dancing in the country. Wonder if Vicki and Ainsley knew they were going to be part of the show? Every inch the performer Vicki and what better way to inspire everyone to have a professional flamenco lesson?
Madrid also saw Nick fulfill one of his longtime ambitions, horse riding. The excursion began with horse and rider introductions during which it seemed Nick’s horse Danko was quite happy to greet the two celebrities! The dynamic duo was still smiling as they rode off into the desert but Nick wasn’t quite so happy on their return! It was a long hard ride!
Week four and while Vicki takes an early morning dip in the pool, Anne gazes on approvingly with her first coffee of the day and Aisnley heads into Denia to rekindle his love of Spanish cuisine at Alicante's only 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Quique Dacosta. Food is very much on the menu in this weeks episode as later during the day, Anne and Nick also head into town for lunch which proves quite a challenge since Anne is vegetarian and Nick is not a fan of any food he's not already familiar with!
Everyone is up bright and early the next morning for a trip to a family run vineyard where in order to taste the fruits of the vine, our gang not only have to pick the grapes first but press them with their own feet! While Nick ponders as to whether the process might cure verrucas, Vicki is more concerned about athlete's foot! With Anne and Christine dispatched to the vines for picking, Vicki, Ainsley and Nick get up close and personal in the vat where it is discovered Ainsley's size 13 feet make him employee of the month, in fact, the vineyard want to keep him! Vicki also poses one or two other question on the topic of Ainsley's feet! Moving swiftly on… The work done its time to sit down with the family to enjoy a traditional meal cooked primarily by Ainsley and the fruits of their labour! Several bottles of it in fact! After that it is back to the villa for some down time and a period of reflection on how the Spanish relate to their families in comparison to the British!
With the holiday rapidly coming to an end, Ainsley decides to give the gang one last gastronomical treat with the help of a local chef and the trusty bar b q then there is just time for a selfie before packing the suitcases and heading back to the airport for the flight home! Make sure everyone gets a copy of the photo Anne! And here it is!