Mateo Castellanos is a fictional character from the ITV sitcom Benidorm, written by Derren Litten. Despite being portrayed as a local of Benidorm, Mateo has been portrayed by Swiss actor Jake Canuso in every episode of the series since its inception in 2007. Mateo is the only Spanish character in the regular cast, and is mostly used in an antagonistic role, frequently causing problems for the guests at the fictional Solana resort, where he is employed as a barman. Mateo is noted for his promiscuity, regularly seducing guests at the resort, regardless of their relationship status.
Both with 56 appearances, Mateo Castellanos and Jacqueline Stewart are the longest serving characters to date.
Information on Mateo’s early life and background is kept vague for much of the series, though it is known that he is a local of Benidorm. Late in series 4, Sam Wood does some research into Mateo’s background in an attempt to deter her friend Natalie Jones from pursuing a relationship with him, discovering that Mateo was born in 1969, and has a wife named Daria and three young children. Mateo has been employed at the Solana resort since prior to 2007, where he works as barman and lifeguard.
Mateo is introduced as the manipulative and promiscuous barman working at the Solana resort. Despite being engaged to Kelly, another employee at the resort, Mateo takes interest in unhappy hotel guest Kate Weedon (Abigail Cruttenden), eventually seducing her in the third episode. Kate immediately regrets the decision, but Mateo continues to pursue her, resulting in Kate accidentally revealing their fling to Kelly, who slaps Mateo and promptly ends their engagement. Mateo loses interest in Kate and has sex with Troy Ramsbottom (Paul Bazely), but is interrupted by Janice Garvey (Siobhan Finneran) and Troy's partner Gavin (Hugh Sachs). During the quiz night at Neptune's, Mateo makes an enemy in Geoff Maltby (Johnny Vegas) who exposes his flings with Kate and Troy, resulting in Mateo being punched by Kate's husband Martin, to most of the audience's delight.
Following her return to the Solana, Mateo immediately sets about trying to seduce Kate, but when she rebuffs his advances, it becomes clear that Mateo has completely forgotten their fling from the previous summer. Mateo later enters the arm wrestling competition and places as runner up to Martin, much to the delight of Kate and the majority of the other guests. Kelly returns to the hotel and Mateo begins to pester her in an attempt to rekindle their relationship. This however sparks the wrath of her friends Donald and Jacqueline Stewart (Kenny Ireland and Janine Duvitski), who lure Mateo to their room and sexually assault him with a cucumber. The encounter is interrupted by Martin, but he leaves without helping Mateo escape.
Following the accident at the wedding, Mateo is enlisted to help Janice and Madge (Sheila Reid) find transportation to the hospital, but instead sets them off with Enrique, who turns out to be an escaped criminal. Back at the Solana, Mateo is part of the group that attempts to rescue the women from Enrique, but ends up taken hostage on the rooftop until Mel Harvey (Geoffrey Hutchings) saves the day by helicopter.
Mateo's continued promiscuity has terrible results for many of the guests, when he is seduced by Brandy, (Sheridan Smith) a friend of Martin’s who turns out to be a con woman. Brandy steals Mateo’s master key to the hotel, giving her access to the other guest's rooms and property. Mateo later repeatedly attempts to get the Stewarts obnoxious friend Wink McAndrew removed from the hotel, but fails to do so, leading to Wink’s death by electrocution.
Mateo is paired with new Solana employee Les (Tim Healy), and takes a disliking for his new colleague, feeling uncomfortable with his female alter-ego Lesley. Mateo is forced to lead a water aerobics session, which coincides with Donald's collapse in the pool. Despite the two events having no correlation, Janey sacks Mateo fearing a lawsuit from the Stewarts, but Lesley's quick thinking saves Mateo's job and earns his respect. One of Mateo's former flings, Natalie Jones (Kathryn Drysdale) returns to the hotel, but his attempts to seduce her are thwarted by her friend Sam Wood (Shelley Longworth). Mateo reluctantly agrees to go on a double date with Les, but much to his horror, discovers that the date is with a man. Mateo dresses in drag for the date, but whilst waiting outside the restaurant, is mistaken for a prostitute by an undercover policeman and is arrested. Mateo continues in his pursuit of Natalie, so Sam decides to do some background information on him, discovering that he is married with three children. The women plan their revenge, and trick Mateo into heading to their friend's beauty salon, where he is attacked, before being thrown onto the street with no clothes on.
In this series, Mateo strongly dislikes the new manageress, Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson) and tries to avoid her. Joyce then thinks Mateo fancies her - due to his flirting and seducing, even though he was only trying to annoy her. When Joyce’s ex-lover, Cyril Babcock (Matthew Kelly), arrives at the hotel in Episode 2. She is immediately attracted to him - and to Mateo's relief, she tells him her heart is already taken.
In this series, Mateo's reputation is threatened by a cocktail worker looking for work at the solana. He also cheats Michael (Oliver Stokes) and Tiger (Danny Walters (actor)) out of all their holiday money by bending the rules of a volleyball game. While Joyce Sherrie Hewson is on a date, she leave Les/Lesley (Tim Healy) in charge, and he sacks Mateo. Joyce's new lover Cyril Babcock (Matthew Kelly), (or as Mateo calls him 'Squirrel Bigcock'), makes another appearance and Mateo helps him host the eating competition at the Solana.
In this series Solana chain owner Crystal Hennessey-Vas instructs Solana Resort Manager Joyce Temple-Savage to fire members of staff from the hotel. Rather than firing him Joyce demotes Mateo from head barman to junior barman to save his job. In episode 4 Joyce still recovering from the previous episode makes Mateo Acting Manager of the Solana Resort in her absence.
Later in this series Mateo encounters trouble with his mother-in-law who takes him hostage, towards the end of the finale episode of the season Mateo quickly escapes danger on horseback before reuniting with Les/Lesley, Kenneth and Liam before deciding to head to Madrid with Liam to escape town and avoid further danger.
Despite his departure at the end of Series 7, Mateo returns at the end of Series 8, Episode 1. He continues his role as the Solana barman, and during the series finale, Matteo moves in with Liam's former roommates, two female models.
In February 2016, it was announced that Canuso would be returning for the ninth series of Benidorm in 2017.