Babylon's Spanish Barman Hails From Costa Coventry
- Babylon's Spanish Barman Hails From Costa Coventry.(News)
publication:[%22Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)%22]>Sunday Mercury
(Birmingham, England) | Date:
pubdate:[20070215;20070221]>February 18, 2007
Byline: BY ROZ LAWS TV Editor
MILLIONS of TV viewers know him as flamboyant barman Gino in the hit BBC1
drama Hotel Babylon.
And he's made a career out of playing Latin men.
But beneath the dark looks and Spanish heritage lies Martin Marquez's secret.
He's actually from... Coventry.
He was born in the city and grew up in Binley Woods after his Brummie
mother met his father, a Spanish waiter, on holiday.
June, from Northfield, Birmingham, fell in love with Juan on the Costa Brava.
"Dad couldn't speak English, but he did monkey impressions on the beach and
Mum was smitten," laughs Martin.
The couple settled in Coventry, raised five children and ran the Kwick
Chick takeaway in The Burges.
Martin became interested in acting at King Henry VIII School and joined the
Belgrade Youth Theatre.
His Latin roles include a Spanish gangster in the Danny Dyer film The
Business, the Spanish Ambassador in the Channel 4 drama Elizabeth with
Helen Mirren, and an Italian in The Gondoliers on stage.
Then there was the time he filmed in Spain for EastEnders with his brother
John, as two gangsters out to get money from Frank Butcher.
Martin, 42, is quick to point out, though, that he was also a Cockney in
Waking The Dead earlier this month and in The Bill, where he played flashy
Det Sgt Danny Pearce for two years.
Now he's playing Gino, who is half-Spanish and half-Italian, in Hotel
Babylon, which takes viewers behind the scenes of a glamorous luxury hotel.
And Martin knows the stories acted out on screen are not far-fetched. He's
experienced the outrageous environment firsthand while working as a fitness
instructor at a fivestar hotel in London.
"It sounds a cliche, but there really was a model who demanded that her
bath be filled with Champagne," remembers Martin.
"And then there was the time that pop star Prince came to stay and insisted
on moving in his own heart-shaped purple bed."
Guest stars in this series of Hotel Babylon include David Walliams,
Jennifer Ellison, Julian Clary, Kelly Brook and John Sessions.
Martin was especially pleased to work with Mark Heap from Green Wing, who
plays a businessman down on his luck in episode four.
"I've known Mark for 20 years, since I saw him doing a juggling act in
Covent Garden," says Martin.
"He's a very funny man and it was a real treat to work with him."
Martin lives in London with his long-time partner Sarah and their four
children - Martha, 14, Archie, 11, eight year-old Raoul and Ramona, who's six.
His 23 year-old son Paolo lives in Earlsdon, Coventry, and is a
construction engineer, currently working on the Herbert Art Gallery
He says his children have become a little blase about dad being on telly,
but are impressed by his friendship with Doctor Who and Torchwood star John
"We met while doing the West End musical Anything Goes," says Martin.
"Then he asked me to join him in pantomime in Cardiff. I've just finished
playing the villain Fleshcreep in Jack And The Beanstalk - I had to do a
Britney Spears' Toxic every night!
"John is great and considered cool by my kids. We went to his wedding
during the panto run."
John and his partner Scott Gill had a civil partnership ceremony in Cardiff
Another John features heavily in Martin's life. He and his brother John
have an acclaimed comedy act called The Brothers Marquez which they are
developing for television.
"We have a meeting in a couple of weeks with some producers," he says.
"It's happening gradually as our profiles are raised - John is in the new
Ronni Ancona comedy series.
"We have a really good relationship and don't fight. Nothing can make me
happier than working with my brother.
"But before that happens, it looks like we'll be back making a third series
of Hotel Babylon."
Martin Marquez as Gino and with Sally Ann Triplett in Anything Goes
Copyright 2007 Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
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