They say your childhood years are the best of your life, but that's not the case for comedian Vic Reeves, if his memorable family holidays are anything to go by. Vic told The Telegraph of damp tents and tiny toilets: 'When I was a kid we would go on camping holidays and I went to Whitby once with my mum, dad and sister.We all got the squits and it absolutely poured down with rain. There was just one really tiny toilet. We took it in turns. I remember sitting in the tent and staring at the rain.'
Welsh siren Cerys Matthews has seen the world while touring as a solo artist and with her band Catatonia, but you can’t perform at some of the best venues and festivals without picking up a few hotel horror stories. We've all found the odd unsavoury stain in our hotel room, but Cerys proves you really do have to draw the line somewhere. She told The Telegraph: 'I was on tour and checked into a travelling salesman-type hotel outside Brighton. The mattress had a huge dried bloodstain on it - really big, as if someone had been murdered. I walked straight out.' Like Cerys’ first chart hit with Catatonia, could her mystery bloodstain be a job for ‘Mulder and Scully’?
Actress Emilia Fox has travelled the world to shoot films, but even her familiar face didn't save her from strict passport control in Moscow airport. With a first aid kit packed with pills and syringes, Emilia aroused the suspicions of security officials, leading to her arrest, followed by a strip search. She was then saved when a friend called her mobile, who arranged for a member of British Airways to rescue her. The gallant friend who called Emilia’s mobile was none other than the award-winning actor Ralph Fiennes, aka, Voldemort from Harry Potter - not the sort of fellow for Moscow muggles to mess with.
Author, actor and adventurer Brian Blessed has travelled the globe conquering mountainous landscapes, but even the hardiest of explorers can meet with disaster… With his baritone roar and kingly authority, we'd imagine the elements of nature would bend to his will, but unfortunately it's Brian's bowels that weren't under his command when trekking up one of the world's largest mountains. Brian told the Telegraph: 'I got diarrhoea on Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, between Argentina and Chile. The problem occurred when I was about 1,000ft from the top of the mountain which is 23,000ft high. I had to strip off every 10 seconds in conditions 30 degrees below zero and was in serious danger of getting frostbite on my private bits.'
Having made Rom-Com film Four Christmases, Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon became an expert on the stresses of a holiday nightmare. Reese’s character Kate finds herself stuck having to visit her four divorced parents and in-laws on Christmas day – awkward holiday hell ensues with hilarity. When promoting the film, Reese told interviewers about a disastrous family trip of her own: 'I remember there was a time we went on a ski vacation where it was so cold that we couldn't even leave the hotel, so we all just sat there - it was cold and horrible. Plus my brother and I fought like dogs.'
Stereophonics' lead singer Kelly Jones recalls his first holiday away with friends, before he found fame. 'The first trip I did with mates was to Calella, in Spain. It was a 26-hour coach drive and it was horrendous. My memory is that the coach was infested with ants, crawling all over the kitchen area, after the sugar. My cousin had a dodgy sandwich and spent half the journey throwing up. It prepared me for tour buses,' he told The Times.
It's been four decades since Petula Clark urged us to forget all our troubles with her 1965 hit song Downtown, but since then poor Petula has been plagued with holiday disasters, including trips to Bermuda and Ohio. Petula told The Times of her woes on a holiday with family in Marrakesh: 'I was working and caught a later flight [to Marrakesh], arriving at 1am. The taxi dropped me at the house, which was in total darkness. I rang and rang the bell until eventually my daughter dragged herself to the door. It turned out all of them had a sickness bug that they must have picked up on the plane. I spent days driving round Marrakesh getting doctors and medicine, trying to get the family back on their feet again. It hasn’t put me off Marrakesh, I still love it.”
Surely the king of laid-back cool, Mr Michael Caine, couldn't have had a disastrous holiday? Many of us enjoy a bit of a soak in the sun, but film legend Michael recalls a solar experience that put him off catching the rays. He told The Times about his first holiday in Cannes during the film festival in 1962: 'I learnt a lot of lessons on that trip. One of them was to avoid sunbathing. I fell asleep one day in the sun and got sunburnt. The gardener who looked after [Peter] Ustinov’s house said: 'You have to put tomatoes on it.' He was rubbing tomatoes on my burns, and it smelt like someone was cooking breakfast. I was thinking: 'Who’s cooking breakfast in the middle of the afternoon?' But it was my face, with those bleeding tomatoes. I have never sunbathed since, despite living in the sunshine of Hollywood for about 10 years and filming in some of the world’s sunniest locations.'
Can you imagine anything worse than seeing your life go up in flames just before your holiday? It would be enough to wipe the smile off anyone's face, even a comedian’s. Jonny Vegas found himself back to basics when he was travelling home for the Christmas holidays. 'I’d packed a cheap hire van with my worldly belongings," Jonny told The Telegraph. 'We pulled into a service station and noticed some smoke. When we came out, the whole van had gone up in flames. If we hadn’t pulled in, the fire would have caught hold and we’d have been trapped inside. I was booked to do a comedy show that night and went on stage in a state of shock that I had escaped death.'
Cheeky chappy comedian Russell Howard recalls a ghoulish experience at the age of eight on his first trip abroad to Lanzarote with family. Russell told The Times: 'One night, walking back into our villa, I was confronted by two werewolves. I pooed myself, then they lifted their masks and it was my mum and dad. I’ve only recently found out that they’d already bought the masks in England. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? Let’s wait until he’s in a foreign country, then properly scare him.”
As a star of the magazine cover, actress and model Kelly Brook has travelled to exotic locations to enjoy stunning scenery to match her glamorous image. But wardrobe malfunctions can still happen in paradise - Kelly told The Telegraph: 'I was modelling in Hawaii where we had to trek across a national park to find a stunning waterfall to do a shot for my calendar. I convinced everyone it was a good idea but they only agreed to do it if I carried the suitcase containing all the clothes. But when I opened it, it just contained one tiny scarf and no swimwear. I improvised by using the scarf and my hands to cover my bits - and then we got the picture.' That must have been a very light suitcase Kelly... The moral is: be careful who packs your bags, otherwise you'll end up naked under a waterfall with a photographer - it could happen to any of us.