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Season 3?

ITV1's Bafta-nominated sitcom Benidorm is to return next year for a third series and a one-hour special.


The new director of television at ITV, Peter Fincham, has ordered eight new episodes of the holiday comedy starring Johnny Vegas and Steve Pemberton.


The one-off special will pick up where the second series left off, with several characters in prison, hospital and disappearing out to sea on a parasail. The third series will then follow – reuniting the stars a year on.


Fincham said: "Benidorm has a fantastic mix of warmth, charm, and fun. I am delighted to have this popular series returning to the channel next year.


"After a Bafta nomination for the first series and ratings success for the second, ITV is delighted to announce that our favourite holidaymakers will be returning in 2009 with a one-hour special and eight new episodes."


ITV's director of entertainment and comedy, Paul Jackson, added: "Gaining a Bafta nomination for best sitcom was a fantastic moment and with such impressive ratings ITV is very pleased to commission more.


"Benidorm has performed brilliantly on the channel and online. The series clearly has a great fan base."


Created by Derren Litten and made by the independent producer Tiger Aspect, Benidorm has proved a hit for ITV1.


The second series premiered with 6.5 million viewers in March and was one of the channel's most dowloaded shows on itv.com.


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