2 Oct, 2014 @ 18:03
1 min read

New Channel 5 TV show appeals for expat stars in Andalucia

DO you know of friends or family that are moving to Spain? If so Channel 5 would love to hear from you! 

Award-winning production company Blakeway North – the makers of Benidorm ER – are appealing for people to star in their new expat series ‘Twice the Life for Half the Price’ for Channel 5.

Producers are seeking Brits who are packing their bags for a cheaper, better life in sunny Spain.

If you know of anyone, contact georgina.madley@blakeway.tv or call 0161 838 2516.


Rob Horgan

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.


  1. “Producers are seeking Brits who are packing their bags for a cheaper, better life in sunny Spain.”

    That scenario is so massively naïve that I am amazed a trained journalist would even write it down (or was it cut-and-pasted from a Channel 5 researcher who has just left Uni perhaps?).

    “Twice the Stress for Double The Price” would be a better title for Spain. Over the decade that I have been resident in Spain, just about everyone I’ve met of working age has found living in Spain very difficult. The taxes, the work situation, and the legal situation/entitlements are the main issues faced on a day-to-day basis. It’s like a tape stuck on repeat, the same issues repeated over and over.

    If you are retired on a decent pension and have a nest-egg, or if you are working in a high-demand niche area with a good income, then Spain can be a good place to live, but Spain is no longer a cheap place to reside in, and if you do everything by the book it ends up costing more, which is of course why the black market and brown envelopes are so rife here.

  2. They are looking for Derek and his mates, don’t worry Fred they are not looking for how it really is, you won’t be getting a call. Most of the working age people that I have known who have had to make a living returned to the UK, and even when some manage to stay as they have a bit of money behind them their kids leave and return to the UK as they can’t get a job over there.. Sad but true, I know two couples that this has happened to in the last couple of years and I only know about 10 people in that area, all the others left.

  3. This program isn’t called ‘People who have been spat out by Spain because they didn’t fit in’ Reap!

    I suppose Spain’s success stories obviously would mainly be early retirees, or the retired, who definitely would get ‘Twice the Life for Half the Price.’ Younger ex pats managing to work successfully in Spain are the extremely lucky ones. To be able to financially survive in this fantastic sunny friendly country.

    BTW, a lot of things are about 2/3rds cheaper in Spain: Road tax, Council tax, Water rates, TV licence (€0) etc, but somehow Fred makes it TWICE as much in his negative mind to live in Spain. What a depressing bloke.

    And if you surround yourself with the right people… (obviously not these two)

  4. ‘Twice the Life for Half the Price’ God, this programme sounds really naff and very yesterday.

    I completely agree with Fred and Reap. We first bought property in Spain in 1998 and everyone we knew back then has left and gone back to the UK/their country of origin, mainly through lack of work/business opportunities, problems with property laws and crippling taxes.

  5. “BTW, a lot of things are about 2/3rds cheaper in Spain: Road tax, Council tax, Water rates, TV licence (€0) etc”

    Council tax (IBI) depends on many factors, I know Spanish people who are paying over 1500 euros a year for a tiny town house in the village centre, which is the same price as an enormous 500 sq m Cortijo just 5 minutes drive away. IBI has also increased significantly, despite a total collapse in property market values. If you live in the campo you will see virtually nothing for the money you pay in IBI bills. The infrastructure is falling to bits. Just sit in any average town hall for a few hours to see the reality.

    Water and sewage can be cheaper, but if you have a garden, not so cheap, as the irrigation will knock the cost through the roof. TV license? You’re scraping the barrel now Derek (you won’t even get basic UK TV without a £250 payout btw). Electric, gas, Internet, accountants/gestor bills, all very expensive in Spain. Then factor in the loss of value on your home and the 10% in tax and legal fees you paid when you bought it, and you start to get the real picture. If it’s so cheap to live here, why has there been a massive recession and expat exodus Derek? Sure, some house sales are going through – but there’s 2.5+ million to sell.

    Twice the life? Without work, without an income, without opportunity? The climate is not everything. Are you a Channel 5 researcher, Derek? You sound like just the person they need to make this total garbage of a programme.

  6. Fred and Reap are right.
    As has already been pointed on this thread and on many other articles on here there is a huge difference in retiring here with money and working/owning a business here.

    I have a successful business and the levels of stress here are huge. Most problems are occur are caused by local athorities, utilities companies or so called professional workers not able to do their jobs right. In the 12 years I have been here I have been fined, cheated, ripped off by: Endesa, Gestagua, at least 5 lawyers, 3 accountants, the town hall on more than 10 occasions, the junta de Andalucia, social security office, hacienda and the police. This may seem like me being bitter but it’s not its reality, I am very organized person who does things right and 90% of problems I have encountered have not been my fault but basically someone else not doing theirs right. Of course I could go on about tradesman and the post but what’s the point as i am already labeled a bitter expat and no doubt will now be told to leave if it’s that bad, would love to leave but am stuck here.

    Got to go now as I have another notification to pick up from the post office which will no doubt be another fine or problem. Of course I was lucky to even get the letter telling me I had something to pick up as it was delivered to my neighbour

  7. Fred, Reap Jane and Mark are right. In my experience, the only thing which is significantly cheaper than the UK is childcare, everything else is about the same or significantly more expensive.

  8. “a lot of things are about 2/3rds cheaper in Spain: Road tax, Council tax, Water rates, TV licence (€0) etc” Yes, that’s right (said Fred!) most things ARE cheaper. You can add in public transport, booze, weekly shopping baskets, university tuition fees, buying or renting accommodation too. A bit stupid for the doomsters to try and deny this – anyone who ever spends time in Spain, whether on a holiday or to live, soon notices this (unless they are buying imported Brit products). However it’s worth noting that there are some things that are costly eg electricity bills, printed media, and branded clothing.

  9. Mark – why do you say you are “stuck here” if you have a successful business? Surely you could sell the traspaso and move on? Of course, as you probably realise, it may be harder moving back to the UK (where 30 pubs close each week and costs are sky high) but with your experience it is a viable option. If you take on a UK pub, maybe open a backpackers hostel at the same time?

  10. @englishdampsquid
    I am stuck due to fact I can’t sell my traspaso as my landlord is stuck in a never ending court course which has dragged on for 8 years. Also where I am in Fuengirola they due to dig up the seafront which may or may not close me down, which would scare off any prospective buyer.. All the businesses in my area are tender hooks wondering how things will work out, what damage the works will do to their buisness and when the work will start. The town hall are releasing a lack of information and when even the Spanish beach bar owners don’t know what’s going on its a worry.

    I would love to take on a pub in UK as 75% are very badly run and these are the ones that go under, the right pub in the right area is still a good business and in fact I looked at 2 when I was in the UK in August just to give me idea of what these businesses required, both I found to decent propositions.

    Anyway not sure if I would move back to UK may go further a field.

  11. @englishdampsquid
    I would just like to add that it’s silly to try and compare prices between Spain and UK. Yes comparing it when you bring your pound over bit for those who work here it’s expensive as the gap between wages and cost of living here is wider than in the UK IMO.

  12. @Squiddy, just because you name four cheaper things, this does not mean that “most things ARE cheaper” in Spain.

    Fact is, Spain has lots of those “hidden costs” that people moving here will never, ever, know about until they are fully in the system. Spain has a habit of pulling lots of surprise costs out of the hat. Local transport can be cheaper but the service is often abysmal (I remember just last year not being able to get a late night bus back from Malaga because the service did not even exist!). You also forgot national insurance contributions – 250 euros a month for many; a crippling amount for many people, which you have to pay even if you don’t work. As for University fees, well you get what you pay for. Most graduates will have to leave Spain to find work. Fact is that Spanish graduates are also some of the worst skilled in Europe, with basic deficiencies in literacy and numeracy.

    So the booze is cheaper – is this the main reason to move to Spain then? Fact is, all of the essential things in Spain are actually quite expensive. To be a working expat in Spain, who does everything by the book, is certainly more expensive – that’s just simple facts.

  13. Iestyn ap Robert – ‘the only thing which is significantly cheaper than the UK is childcare, everything else is about the same or significantly more expensive.’

    …except for ‘Road tax, Council tax, Water rates, TV licence’

    Why argue about these cheaper FACTS.

    BTW there’s nothing you could say positive about Spain that Fred would not try to shoot you down about.

  14. Mark – hope you work out a good exit, if you are no longer happy. Maybe you are one of those who needs a new challenge. One thing you could do is run courses on runing a successful bar! Trouble is I suppose, that those who need it most, will not pay for it. You could be the next Ramsay!

  15. Someone who runs a shop or office in Spain, Fred, will find the costs are far cheaper than the uk eg rent, rates etc. That’s a fact. Of course there are things that may cost eg aircon, or delivery charges. The biggest drawback is the seasonality, which means you have to earn a years income in 6 months, sometimes less.

  16. @englishdampsquid
    Thank you, believe it all not I have helped a few people over here with their businesses including a spanish customer of mine who recently took on a large cafeteria. I would love to do some sort of consulting to bar owners and actually talked with a company that sold bars about doing just that. However that was before the crisis and that firm went bust so nothing came off it. To be honest most bar owners are behond help and only survive due to be incompetents of state who don’t clap down on those breaking the law. For example if a bar has 3 staff and is paying them in cash they save over 1200€ a month which allows them to drop prices which sometimes may under cuts a legal neighbour who can’t compete

  17. “…except for ‘Road tax, Council tax, Water rates, TV licence’”

    @Derek, your comparisons are very simplistic. You can’t just say “council tax is cheaper” as IBI varies massively all over the country, and you could pay the same amount for a house that is 10 times the size of the other. I pay the same IBI as I do council in the UK, for example, same size property (sq m) and grounds and approximate location/proximity to large town etc. IBI has also not come down relative to property price reductions, which are as much as 50% lower since 2008. You neglected to mention that.

    Water and gas, electricity etc are expensive in Spain and have increased significantly in recent years (as they have done in the UK too of course). People often say food is cheaper here, but Spain does not have the ‘2-for-1’ etc offers that can really save the coffers when doing weekly shops, for example. Choice is also very poor in Spanish supermarkets and getting specialist foods (wheat-free etc) can be more expensive and more challenging. Just a dozen items in Eroski can set you back 30-40 euros sometimes (it did for me this weekend anyway).

    @Squiddy, office rental costs can be bit of a red herring because all of the tax and other legal requirements (such as requirements for gestors) will soon even out those UK cost comparisons. Spanish laws often mean doing things by the book makes you lose out. I have work colleagues who rent large office spaces in Malaga and Marbella and they frequently tell me that their overall costs are higher than the UK, especially when you have to factor in staff contractual issues, which can be a very costly affair in Spain. Legal and admin costs are also higher in Spain I find, and I have run a business here for a decade.

    Overall I would say that Spain is very much on par with the UK when you eventually factor in everything.

  18. Two people who work there, Mark & Fred, on the other hand Derek, rose tinted and some say he only has a holiday home there, I know who I listen to. Yes, if you are retired on a nice juicy UK pension things will seem less expensive but as Mark said the wages are lower so for the working population things do not seem cheaper.

    Last year, someone asked me to have a skype call with her sister to tell her what Spain was really liked. She was about 40 with kids, I said you don’t have a lot of cash, your kids will go to a bad school and you will more than liley return when you have spent your money, no oppoutunity for your kids when they grow up etc, she still went and yes she is back now.

    When you read Mark’s posts, he is telling you how it is, it is not made up. I have a friend there who runs a business, the only one I know who runs a business, she had a lot of experience int he UK at the same business. She has employees who are tryng their best to get sacked so they can get a payout, get made redundant etc but in Span the law is on the employees side. Mark has probably has a few of those if they are on a contract!!

  19. ‘Twice the life for half the price’ must be a joke surely, the programme editors must be desperate. Is that why 10’s of 1000’s of expats who are stuck in negative equity or unsaleable homes are wishing to return to Blighty?

    Then again 1000’s of young Spaniards have moved to Blighty in recent years (and a warm welcome to them bringing their culture and food to cosmopolitan UK), to find work in a country where property demand exceeds supply and therefore a safe bet to invest in, not forgetting much, much, lower transaction costs. They know what’s best for them!

  20. Thank you Reap, I always try to be objective when I post something here and although most may come across as negative I know there are some things that are good about living here. Unfortunately for me owning a business isnt one of them, I could quite easily retire here but I do regret coming here at such an early age when in hindsight other places would of been suited to my way of thinking.

    Yes I have had a lot of experience with the labour laws here and have yet to burnt as I think I tend to employ a certain type of person. When it has come to giving a full time contact (indefinido) I have explained to them that I don’t agree with the labour laws when it comes to pay offs and that it is unfair that they should lose their jobs because of the reluctancy of companies to give these sort of contracts. I say I will give them a fair wage, 2 days off a week, holidays, work bonus if due and good work environment but if there is a case I need to let them go I expect for them to walk away if not I can’t give them a new contract. Everyone has shaked my hand and so far no one has tried to screw me. All my staff have been spanish and I believe they value me as a boss as seeing how spanish bosses treat their staff in the catering sector I must be good to work for.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

San Pedro: Furniture Triangle

Next Story

No mis-steak at Longhorn

Latest from Entertainment

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press