As much as viewers loved Coach Trip, the reality series in which enthusiastic contestants laughed and argued their way across Europe before choosing who of their group they were going to vote off, there was one rather large hindrance to the format – namely the mode of transport.
“Coach Trip has been rested at the moment – it’s not the end of the programme, but we decided that we’d experiment with a new format,” Brendan Sheerin says of the series, which began back in 2005.
And so the flamboyant tour guide has decided to do away with the coach for his brand new series Brendan’s Magical Mystery Tour.
“The trouble with Coach Trip is, it’s lovely and really popular, but you’re struggling with the coach,” says Sheerin, who’s phoning in from Bradford and alleviating the early interview slot with sips of his tea.
“In this series, we can actually go anywhere in the world. And if the series takes off and it’s recommissioned, the world’s our oyster.”
In Brendan’s Magical Mystery Tour, there are eight Brits instead of Coach Trip’s 14, taking part in a freewheeling adventure, and this time they spend five days in each exotic location – places such as Cancun, Jamaica, Barcelona and Istanbul.
The twist is the travelling contestants don’t know where they’re going, how they’re travelling, where they’re staying, what they’re doing or who they’re doing it with.
They are totally in Sheerin’s hands when they turn up for filming.
“The formula is based on winning challenges,” explains 54-year-old Sheerin.
The trip culminates every Friday when the two contestants who’ve done the best in the week’s challenges face a final head-to-head showdown, with the winner getting a £1,000 travel voucher to go off and use on their own magical mystery tour.
But unlike Coach Trip, in which an eclectic group of people were thrown together in close proximity and filmed through the good and bad times, this time “contestants have to work as teams, so any little idiosyncrasies have to be forgotten,” says Sheerin.
As a tour guide with over 30 years’ experience, Sheerin, who worked all over the world before returning to Britain and the Scarborough Tourism Board when the opportunity to audition for Coach Trip cropped up, reveals the TV shows aren’t so different from his former day job.
* Brendan’s Magical Mystery Tour begins on Channel 4 on Monday, June 24.