Interview: Joe Wilkinson Discusses New Travel Show Joe & Katherine's Bargain Holidays

Interview: Joe Wilkinson. Discusses New Travel Show Joe & Katherine's Bargain Holidays

Comedian Joe Wilkinson loves a bargain and is dedicated to making as many savings as possible on holiday. Joe’s friend and fellow comedian Katherine Ryan loves to lap it up in luxury, but if she can live the champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget, then she’s all ears. Now, in this six-part series, the pair are joining forces to show the Great British public how to have a fantastic holiday for a next to nothing price.

In Joe and Katherine’s Bargain Holidays, the duo embark on a relentless pursuit of bargainous getaways, both in the UK and further afield, showcasing a different type of holiday in each episode. Whether it’s the ultimate couple’s break on a shoestring budget, a wellness retreat that won’t break the bank, or a family seaside stay that won’t drain your pockets, Joe and Katherine have tons of ideas for cut-price holiday.

Together, they’ll visit the best undiscovered resorts, road-testing and reviewing the most value-for-money restaurants and activities in each destination, finding the best tips, tricks and hacks as they compile the ultimate bargain-packed itinerary.

Joe & Katherine’s Bargain Holidays, stream or watch live from Thursday 25th April on Channel 4.

Read an interview with Katherine Ryan here.

Tell us about the series and what we can expect from it.

Basically, Katherine’s glamorous and I’m less so, so I thought this was a good opportunity to save her a few quid. In my opinion Katherine spends money willy-nilly on holidays and things when it’s not necessary, because you can do things on a budget and still have, not as good a time, but still a good time. I’m sure if you’re staying in The Ritz it’s very nice and you probably have very plumped up cushions, but you can get pretty plumped up cushions for less money. We went around Europe and I showed Katherine the delights of paying less. She sulked sometimes, but generally she was a very good sport and realised the error of her ways... Although I believe straight after filming she went back to her original ways of spending money.

Where does your love of bargain holidays come from? Is this how you live your life?

I don’t like spending money where I don’t have to, it grates on me if I do. I couldn’t enjoy a holiday if I’d spent over the odds because I’d just be bringing it up all the time. This was heaven for me, knowing that we hadn’t spent more money than we needed to. Whereas Katherine, I’ll be honest with you, doesn’t worry about things like that. So now I worry on her behalf. I’m double worrying and she doesn’t worry enough.

How long have you been friends with Katherine? Tell us a bit about your relationship, how long have you been worrying about her?

I’ve worried about her for as long as I’ve known her. I’ve known her for 10, maybe 15, years. We started out doing stand-up at a similar time, she was way more successful than me early on and rightly so. She tried to move on from our friendship but I wouldn’t let go and I hung onto her coat tails.

When you start out in stand-up everyone knows everyone and then we’ve been lucky enough to work on lots of things together. I’m sort of in a little bit of awe of Katherine, she has a very brilliant way of looking at everything. I feel a little bit like one of her children when I’m around her because I want to learn from her. She’s wise, apart from spending money - that’s her one flaw.

If you maybe see on social media that Katherine’s bought something or been somewhere that has cost a lot, do you call her out on it?

I will immediately text her and say ‘there’s no need to buy that’ and, I’ll be honest, she won’t reply. I don’t know why I bother but, as I say, someone has to worry. I do worry that I haven’t completely changed her.

Were you surprised Katherine signed up to the show?

Very much so, I assumed it was a clerical error. But I think she softened through every episode and she embraced everything. She gave it all a go, even if it wasn’t her cup of tea. I know for a fact I can be quite draining, but was she was very understanding of how draining I can be and didn’t let it show.

There are some moments Katherine puts you through the wringer with some of the things she gets you to do, such as the bobsleigh in Latvia and climbing in Montenegro...

She did get me to do a few things. Basically, if Katherine thought there was any element of danger, she thought it best that I do it.

I wasn’t sure she was actually pregnant, I thought it was a rouse to avoid climbing up a cliff or being pulled along by a big yellow banana boat. The child did appear, so I give her that. Alright, I admit it, she was pregnant so she shouldn’t have climbed up a cliff, but even if she wasn’t pregnant, she still wouldn’t have done it.

You’re scared of heights but seem to end up doing a lot of things that require you to be up high. Each day at breakfast Katherine would go ‘Is there any way of getting Joe up high?’ And she found a way most days. Is that bullying? I don’t know.

Did any of the activities help you overcome your fear of heights?

No, everything made it worse. The only benefit was I knew it wasn’t costing a lot of money. You wouldn’t have got me doing any of those things if I’d been paying over the odds. I would have said no because they’re the two things I fear the most, heights and spending too much money.

Did you or Katherine buy gifts for one another on your travels?

The thing I remember most about gift buying is Katherine’s desire to spend money we hadn’t agreed. We’d have a low budget, maybe not spending more than a tenner and... I think she likes the feeling of money slipping out of her fingers. She was like ‘I’ve spent another seventy on this herb you can wave in front your nose...’ The presents were a lovely thought, but it was slightly irritating that she spent too much money on them.

We heard you had a hair-raising moment whilst travelling in Montenegro, were you in danger of losing your luggage?

The luggage fell out of the car, but that’s every holiday. You can’t let that ruin a holiday. A car boot flying open and stuff flying out the back dangerously, you must never let it ruin a holiday. Stuff and people fall out of things, it’s just the way things are.

Was that incident related to travelling on a budget?

It was probably just me and my mind wandering when I was securing the boot. Some people lost some luggage, but that is holidays in a nutshell.

We’re living through tricky times with rising costs, do you think this series could be quite helpful for viewers?

I hope so. Before we did the show, I didn’t know about any of the things we did but I’ve great intentions of going back to all of them. We were really lucky with where we went. Joking aside, it didn’t feel like we were on a budget, it was all super fun and it really was a bit of an eye-opener about what you can do for not big bucks. I hope people give these places a go, they were really good fun and they weren’t expensive.

It does feel like the right time for this kind of show, everyone’s struggling a bit, but you still need a holiday, don’t you?

Absolutely, even if it’s ‘champing’. That was one of my favourite things. Camping in a church for next to nothing, please tell me what’s better than that? There were pigeons though, I believe. I didn’t see any but that was the rumour.

You visit a lot of different places in the UK. Do you enjoy holidaying in this country?

I do like to holiday in this country. We went to Northern Ireland, Wales and Norfolk – I call them the big three. The famous big three. I’d been to each of these places with work but never had time to see them properly, they’re very beautiful parts of the UK. We forget how beautiful our isle is and what was nice about doing three of the episodes on home turf was that everywhere was only a few hours away. These beautiful places are practically on the doorstep. I hope people do more holidaying at home.

In Norfolk, we see you very enamoured with the owls you meet at a sanctuary. Have you always been a big owl fan?

I love owls. It’s a bit of a no-no for me if I meet someone who’s not bang into owls, I’m certain I won’t get on with them. I think I touched over 13 owls. I did worry about where we could go from there in the series, how we could top a load of owls. We chucked a load of money at the owl lady and she let me touch her owls. I was in heaven.

Have you had any owl encounters since?

I thought you were going to ask me if I’ve been back to see the owls because yes, I have, quite a few times. I think they recognise me when I go back. If I could be pen pals with them, I would.

What were the most memorable moments from the series for you? It sounds like it was the owls?

The owls were good. We peaked very early with the owls and I like lavender which was also in Norfolk. If you put owls and lavender in the same day for me, it’s Christmas Day.

Was Norfolk your favourite destination then?

I don’t like to have favourites, but yes, yes it was. 6

Tell us about ‘the mousie’ and where that came from? Is it about to take the nation by storm?

Ah, the mousie, hopefully soon to be a global phenomenon. At the time when I invented the mousie and I did invent it - if anyone says anything different on Wikipedia, I’ll be fuming. But at the time I invented it, there was a lot of selfie-ing and I thought there needed to be competition, a new kid on the block, so I came up with the mousie. You put the camera where a mouse would be, it’s a mouse-eye view, like if a mouse was taking your photo. You put the camera on the timer and you get what a mouse would have taken a photo of.

I think it’s going to change the world like the internet did, or penicillin. I genuinely think the world will never be the same. I’m going to be known as the ‘mousie guy’. I have been called that before but that’s because my eyes are very close together, so for once ‘mousie guy’ will be a positive. I’m going to be like the guy who invented the internet, this is my gift to the world. Though unlike him, I will take some money, for every mousie taken I get £1.50.

That could be lucrative when it takes off.

It’s a big deal for me this show.

Finally, if roles were reversed and Katherine invited you on a high-end, expensive and luxury holiday, would you accept?

That’s a tough one because I hate waste. I think we’d bicker because, as I say, you get Katherine on a roll spending money and it’s hard to stop. She’s a money spending juggernaut. That would really stress me out. I don’t know if I could go, I don’t know if I could step into that world. I couldn’t jump into that I don’t think, I’m sorry. What if I got into it?

Once you’ve done a five star all-inclusive it’s hard to go back.

I like the word all-inclusive, five star freaks me out a little bit. But give me time.


Interview/pictures supplied by publicists


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