Britain really is your oyster in a motorhome, say Paul Merton and his wife in a new TV show

Thank goodness Have I Got News For You’s Paul Merton has a well-developed sense of humour. He needed it to cope with his first holiday on the open road for a new TV series, Motorhoming With Merton And Webster.

The six-part Channel 5 series sees Paul, 64, and his comedian wife Suki Webster, 56, hit the road for a motorhome staycation. Given that two million Brits are due to enjoy a caravan or motorhome holiday this year it’s timely, but on the very first night they had to call for help after getting stuck in the bathroom.

‘We were getting ready for bed and I realised the lights were still on in the bathroom,’ recalls Suki. 

‘So we went in and were trying to find the light switch, but then the door wouldn’t open! So I leaned out the window and shouted to one of the show’s directors staying in his van nearby. 

Paul Merton, 64, and wife Suki Webster, 56, (pictured) share their motorhome staycation in new six-part Channel 5 series, Motorhoming With Merton And Webster

‘It turned out the slant on the hill we parked the motorhome on meant the sliding door had jammed. It took two strong men to lift up the door and slide it back again.’

Paul was more than a little worried. ‘It was a bit frightening because if we hadn’t had somebody nearby to help, we were effectively trapped.’

That early setback in Kent laughed off, the open road beckoned. In the series they also go to the Lake District, the Peak District, Brecon Beacons, the Norfolk Broads and the West Country, enjoying the outdoors, drinking in the views and meeting other members of the camping fraternity. 

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Paul and Suki are complete novices though. Their previous experiences of caravan breaks had been childhood holidays and music festivals, and their ideal holiday before lockdown was in far-flung destinations like Cuba or India. 

On top of that, Paul admits it took time to adjust to the vehicle’s, er, cosy interior.

‘On our first experience of looking at the motorhome, we both thought, “This is a bit c**p, it’s a bit tight” in terms of the dimensions,’ he confesses with a chuckle. 

‘But when we went to campsites and showed other people our motorhome, they were really impressed by the size of it. We realised we didn’t know anything at all and had to adjust our attitude a bit.’

Suki said they found their cramped quarters challenging, as they'd often hit each other when turning over in their short bed. Pictured: Couple in Somerset

Suki said they found their cramped quarters challenging, as they’d often hit each other when turning over in their short bed. Pictured: Couple in Somerset

At times the cramped quarters were problematic though. ‘One thing we found challenging is that the bed was a bit too short,’ says Suki.

‘Paul’s just over 6ft 2in and I’m just over 5ft 7in. When one of us turned over we’d often hit the other.’


Paul says Suki was his first choice of companion when Channel 5 asked him to make the series. 

But now that Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood have teamed up for an ITV travelogue, would he consider hitting the open road with his Have I Got News For You nemesis Ian Hislop?

Pictured: Paul with his Have I Got News For You nemesis Ian Hislop

Pictured: Paul with his Have I Got News For You nemesis Ian Hislop

‘Yes I would! Ian and I do get on well. Sometimes there’s the on-screen rivalry, mainly due to the fact he doesn’t like losing, which is a shame because that’s been his experience for the last 31 years.

‘But if it’s a choice between Ian and Suki, I don’t think it’s a close call. Only one of them looks good in a dress!’

Suki also had to shoo her husband out of the miniscule cooking area. ‘I tried to keep Paul out of the kitchen as much as possible because he doesn’t tidy up after himself,’ she says.

Paul doesn’t argue with this. ‘I’m not particularly great at tidying up, although I did excel at making something called a Bakewell pudding, which everybody thought would end up as a comic item. I’m no cook, but by a one-in-a-million chance it tasted really good.’

The pair had a tough time manoeuvring along tiny country lanes too. Wing mirrors were broken and frustrated drivers came out of the woodwork. 

‘I was surprised by the number of occasions when people were really quite angry at being stuck behind a motorhome,’ says Paul. ‘They’ll take quite extraordinary risks and overtake on bends.’

They both laugh when they explain that the overtaking drivers would then see the camera filming them from a Land Rover ahead, and get ‘confused and start driving normally’.

They were kept busy with activities such as outdoor swimming and hill climbing, and a hair-raising go-karting adventure in a Somerset quarry. 

‘It was a kind of converted Formula One go-kart, without a bonnet,’ explains Paul of the souped-up vehicle called an Ariel Nomad. 

‘It went from nought to 60 in about two seconds. I’m not going to say which one hated it and which one really enjoyed it, but one of us was screaming, “Stop! Stop!”’ Suki gives the game away. ‘Paul was shouting, “Will you please slow down!” while I was screaming, “Woo-hoo!”’

Road rage incidents and bathroom calamities aside, Paul and Suki ended up loving their holiday.

Paul said there is 'so much beauty in this country', while revealing his favourite place was the Brecon Beacons. Pictured: Suki and Paul

Paul said there is ‘so much beauty in this country’, while revealing his favourite place was the Brecon Beacons. Pictured: Suki and Paul

‘There is something rather joyous about driving to a new campsite and waking up the next day among beautiful views,’ says Paul. 

‘My favourite was probably the Brecon Beacons. And I’d always wanted to go to the Lake District. There’s so much beauty in this country. It’s a shame we don’t have more predictable weather, I think more of us would stay and appreciate it.’

So did the experience bring them closer? ‘Well, we were going to get a divorce before the series and now we’re not,’ says Paul. 

‘I’m joking. We’re used to touring together and being in close proximity on a bus.’

In fact the pair were so enamoured of their staycation they even considered buying a motorhome, but realised they wouldn’t make good use of it. 

‘But we’ll definitely hire one, at least once a year,’ says Suki. ‘We did really enjoy it.’ They would like to tour Scotland and Ireland in a second series, if Channel 5 are up for it.  

Motorhoming with Merton and Webster airs Fridays at 8pm from 6 August on Channel 5