SCORE: Brendan from Coach Trip
Just how good a tour guide is Brendan from Coach Trip? Well don’t just sit there, the bus’ll leave without you!
So, the tour guide business, how does one fall into this profession?
I was 18 and went to Costa Brava for a summer job as a courier. It was a question of being in the right place in the right time, one of the girls got very sick and had to go home and instead of flying someone else out the company gave me two weeks’ training, a clipboard and packed me off to the airport to pick up my first clients. And I’ve never looked back since!
- 8. Always capitalise on others’ misfortune.
Do you still enjoy seeing new places?
I think most gay men have a passion for travel, they love being other places and experiencing other cultures and food and so on. I’m sworn to secrecy but some of the places we’re going to next series, well let me just say we’ve never been part of this world and it’s going to be absolutely fantastic, absolutely phenomenal, and I’m just reading all this stuff, and even I want to see it, bugger the clients!
- 7. Depends which clients.
Do you ever get annoyed by the contestants on Coach Trip?
Yes, but you’ve got to be diplomatic, you’ve got to bite your tongue and especially some of them; you could be in the middle of Athens in the shadow of the Acropolis in a restaurant where the Queen of Spain eats – because she comes from the Greek royal family, Sophia – and we gave them this delicious moussaka and do you know they hardly touched it? They were like ‘ooh, vine leaves, ooh no!’
- 8. On first name terms with royalty.
You organise some interesting activities on the programme. What’s been your favourite?
Bungee jumping over the Corinth canal was amazing obviously. Then there’s the oil wresting in Turkey, erotic’s not the word!
Did you get involved?
Not personally, no, but when they found out I was the presenter all these stunning glistening lads in cowhide shorts came up to have their picture taken with me and I mean, all that oil, well the price of olive oil these days! No expense spared, dear.
- 9. £3.26 a bottle from Tesco.
Do people ever challenge your facts at all?
One person did challenge me about the capital city of Switzerland, he said ‘but I’m sure it’s Lusard’ and I just looked at him and said ‘no, it’s not, it’s Geneva’. He just shut up; later on he said ‘I stand corrected’ and I replied ‘that’s fine’.
- 8. Magnanimous to his crushed foes.
How’s life on tour outside of the cameras?
Generally I like to spend a bit of time by myself, recuperate. There was this lovely guide in the Budweiser factory, a seven-foot tall basketball player, and he asked me out to dinner in the evening. The director stationed a camera outside my hotel room, but unbeknownst to him I’d nipped in; splashed some water on my face, cologne, straight out before the camera even got there!
- 1O. Seven-foot tall basketball player. Cheeky minx.
On one episode of Coach Trip the contestants are singing YMCA and you say ‘this takes me back to San Francisco 82’, is this true?
Oh yes, when I was 18/19 I’d do the ‘golden triangle’ of San Francisco, Las Vegas and LA. I used to love speeding so that I’d get stopped by those highway cops in their leather boots. They never used to fine you because your Yorkshire accent would transform into Queen’s English and they’d say ‘well, I won’t spoil your vacation by giving you a ticket’, and I’d be thinking ‘you can give me more than a ticket any day.’
- 8. Rebel with a cause.
California was your holiday destination of choice then?
I used to have phenomenal times. Walking down the Castro and seeing gay policemen, gay chemists, gay shops, gay T-shirts, gay clubs, and different coloured handkerchiefs everywhere because in those days everything was coded, so you’d be following someone down the street in a lovely pair of tight Levis and they’d be wearing a green handkerchief with some spots on and you’d be thinking ‘what the hell does that mean?’
- 8. Subtext: he found out.
With your fame spreading, do you ever get approached by fans, even propositioned?
I have quite a few actually. Over the internet, on my Facebook and I have to be very kind, don’t get me wrong, I never take the Michael. I’ve been asked out on quite a few dates but then again you’ve got to be careful because there are those people who unfortunately want to get to know you because you’re on the telly.
- 4. Bad luck Michael.
What are you up to with the rest of the day?
I live in Malaga now so the beach is literally down the street and it’s a beautiful day, in about an hour ‘I’m going to pop my trunks on, walk down there and have a swim. [Off] Oi, Pedro! Get me that oil!
- 8. Pedro’s gonna be wrestling later.
OVERALL: 78 out of a hundred! We’d take a ride on Brendan’s tour bus any day. Funny, charming, lives in Spain and actually understands the enduring mystery of the different coloured handkerchiefs. Sold. If you’re interested in applying for Coach Trip visit channel4.com/takepart. Brendan says the show’s ‘gay friendly’. Well, duh.