TONY Maudsley never really planned for a life in hot pants.

But he’s certainly grateful for the career they’ve offered up.

Right now, Tony is in Glasgow starring in Benidorm Live, the stage show spin-off of the hit comedy series which ran on ITV over ten years.

Tony plays the irrepressible Kenneth DuBeke, a character so camp he makes Coronation Street’s Sean Tully seem like a rugby captain, a man so catty he practically needs his claws clipped.

Now his sunshine world of the Blow n’ Go hairdressing salon set in a Spanish hotel is being replicated here in frosty Glasgow.

“It’s a wonderful show and I’ve loved every minute of being part of it,” says the Liverpool-born actor of ITV’s decision to cancel the series.

“I’ve had the best time ever filming and I’ll be really sad to say goodbye to the show and the rest of the cast when the theatre show is over.

“It’s been a huge chunk of my life and after this show is finished I’ll be walking away from people who have become family.”

Tony, who now lives in Brighton adds; “And how could you not enjoy a show that let’s you spend four months a year in Spain?”

Benidorm worked because it featured some great sitcom characters and neat storylines.

But it also allowed viewers to experience holiday fun vicariously, from the comfort of the sofa.

Viewers loved to watch the pool side adventures at the Solano Hotel lounge, the karaoke nights, the bar adventures.

Yet, that atmosphere must be difficult to replicate on the stage?

“The designer Mark Walters has actually done a fantastic job of creatin the set,” says Tony.

“When the idea of staging the show, getting the pool, the hairdressers, the reception area - all of that up there - to be honest it seemed fanciful. But he has managed to do it. It looks fabulous.”

And the storyline? “Well, it’s a continuation of the TV show and Derren Litten has written some great lines.

“I’m still with Liam, from Blow n’ Go, but someone called Gay Derek comes into the show and Kenneth has to fight him off.”

He grins; “As you can imagine, all sort of chaos ensues.”

It’s easy to imagine, given the series’ content over the years. And Tony loves the chance to play big comedy.

In fact, he simply loves the world of acting. The 51 year-old always wanted to be a performer.

“Yes, well I was a bit of a bad boy at school, but one of the teachers got me interested in drama,” he recalls.

“A few years later, I took myself off to drama school and it all sort of developed from there.”

Tony’s career kicked off when he landed a role in the 1998 film, A Life for a Life, in playing Stefan Kiszko in the true story of one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in recent years.

But he has also had roles in the likes of ITV’s Doc Martin and Heartbeat. And major theatre work includes the 2016 role of Edna Turnblad in the touring season of Hairspray.

More recently he played someone very close to his Benidorm character “Kenneth the Hairdresser” in panto in Swansea.

And Tony has made his mark in major films, including the part of Grawp, Hagrid’s brother in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Robbie Coltrane was great to play alongside,” he recalls. “He was such a nice man.”

He adds, beaming. “I’ve also had a great role in Vanity Fair, with Reece Witherspoon, playing her suitor.”

However, while much of Tony’s success has been predicated upon Benidorm, his sunshine career, he reveals, didn’t sparkle as planned from the off.

“I had originally gone up for the part of Mick,” he says, “which went to Steve Pemberton.

“Then the producers came back some time later and offered the role of Kenneth. So it all turned out the way it should.”

Could there a spin-off series for Kenneth, set in Blow n’ Go?

“Yes, there has been talk of it,” he says with a hopeful smile.

“ I’d love to do it, and it would be a way to keep Kenneth alive. He really is a great character.”

Was it ever worrying however that Kenneth was such an overtly camp character, that gay men may feel he was too much of a caricature?

“Well, I did worry about that in the beginning,” says the actor in all honesty.

“I was all too aware that the gay community wanted gay men to be a lawyer or a doctor as opposed to a hotpants-wearing hairdresser.

“But then I realised I’d actually met many people who were that camp. Kenneth is real. He’s three dimensional.

“And what I considered was these (camp) people hadn’t been represented on television in 20 years.

“There hadn’t been a Kenneth-type since the days of John Inman in Are You Being Served? And I reckoned why shouldn’t a Kenneth appear on television now?”

Kenneth’s popularity suggests society has gone beyond mocking camp figures?

“That’s the case,” he says, in confident voice.

Kenneth’s love life is traumatic? Is his own equally chaotic?

“Can’t talk about that,” he says, grinning. “What I can say is I like to hang around with friends at home. I like to have a good time.”

Yet, the Benidorm good time is coming to an end. Tony knows he has to make the most of having co-stars around such as Jake Canuso (Mateo) Adam Gillen (Liam) and Sherrie Hewson (Joyce.)

“Oh, I’m really making the most of it all,” he says, smiling.

“I know my time in hotpants and crop tops won’t last for too much longer.”

Benidorm Live, the King’s Theatre, until Saturday.