AS Mateo, the smooth-talking Spaniard in hit comedy Benidorm, he oozes slimy charm as he casually works his way through female holidaymakers at the Solana resort.

In the flesh, Jake Canuso - who has played Mateo since the ITV comedy was launched in 2007 - has the swarthy good looks of Benidorm’s flirty barman, but that’s where the similarity ends.

For a start, Jake isn’t Spanish. He was born in Switzerland, is an accomplished dancer and is fluent in six languages.

His dance background has stood him in good stead for Benidorm Live, a new Alicante adventure for the regular holiday-makers and hotel staff - Mateo, Jacqueline, Liam, Joyce Temple-Savage, Sam and Kenneth.

Jake has several dance routines in the show, which he describes as “goodbye and thank you” to the hit comedy, which won’t be returning to TV.

“We did it live at the Royal Variety and we were nervous because we weren’t used to that interaction with a live audience. But as soon as the theme music came on there was a roar from the audience, followed by cheers and laughter, and we knew we’d got it right,” says Jake. “The live show takes it all to another level, but it still has the pathos and warmth within the comedy. It’s a nod to Fawlty Towers and the Carry Ons, the classic comedies people love all over the world.”

When Derren Litten was commissioned by legendary comedy producer Geoffrey Perkins to write a script, the brief was to “write anything you want, as long as it’s funny”.

The result was Benidorm, which went on to win two National Television awards and was nominated for Baftas and British Comedy Awards. Season 10 aired earlier this year.

It’s classic British comedy - an assortment of Brits abroad, lounging around the hotel pool, knocking back sangria and belting out karaoke tunes. The success of the show, which has had the likes of Joan Collins and Cilla Black in the cast, lies in its warmth as well as its sharp comic writing. “You have to care about the characters, that’s why it’s lasted so long,” says Jake. “People have two weeks in the sun and make memories; Benidorm encapsulates that escapism.

“The show looks great on stage; we’ve got props from Spain and have re-created the feel of the resort. It’s a blast.”

Performing on stage is a different vibe to filming the TV show in a real Benidorm resort. “We get crowds following us round but people are generally good to us when we’re filming,” says Jake, who started his dance career aged 16 and became the youngest member of Zurich’s leading contemporary dance company. The following year he was invited to Paris to work with internationally-renowned choreographer Redha Benteifour, culminating in a lengthy run at the Paris Opera. He later moved to London and performed on TV and at the Royal Variety Show. His film credits include Kinky Boots, Nine and The Dark Knight Rises.

Jake has worked with leading dance companies, appearing on Top of the Pops and touring the world with stars such as Kylie, Take That, Elton John and the Spice Girls. He was last at the Alhambra in panto, and did a Latin-style dance routine with Lisa Riley. Benidorm Live sees him flexing his dance muscles once again. “I had one day to rehearse! It took a bit of getting used to,” he smiles. “I grew up watching American TV and wanted to go to stage school but there was nothing like that in Switzerland. There was only ballet school. Dance leads to many skills, it’s a discipline for life.”

* Benidorm Live is at the Alhambra from Monday to Saturday, November 3. Call (01274) 432000.