Hi-De-Hi ! 1980
The idea for as sitcom set in a holiday camp was inspired by Jimmy Perry’s experiences as a Butlins Red Coat, a job he had during the holiday season after being de-mobbed from the army.
This post details the successful TV series and the two stage shows that spun off from it.
A huge success in it’s time, the series gained regular large audiences winning a BAFTA in 1984 for best comedy series. Coming 40th in the BBC poll to find Britain’s best sitcom, the series also polled number 35 in a 2008 Channel 4 poll to find Britain’s best comedy catchphrase for “Hi-De-Hi!”
After a pilot broadcast on 1st January 1980, the program ran for nine series totalling fifty eight episodes between February 1981 and January 1988.
Due to the program’s popularity, the BBC decided to air series three and four back-to-back, the only time the BBC has ever done this with one of their own (first run) shows, which means some sources refer to both series as series three.
By 1984 the series had clocked up five series and become so popular it won a BAFTA for Best Comedy Series.
As series five ended in 1984, Simon Cadell left the show and was replaced by David Griffin, who played new camp entertainments manager: Squadren Leader Clive Dempster for the final two series.
Other cast members also departed as the final two series progressed including: Felix Bowness who played Fred Quimby.
The series took a break in 1985 with only a Christmas Special, returning to it’s regular run in 1986.
On The Stage
In the show’s early years there had been a specially written musical version in 1983, entitled Hi-De-Hi – The Holiday Musical. Panned by the critics it was successful none the less. It lasted a summer season in 1983 in Bournemouth, followed by a Christmas season in London. It featured most of the original cast, who after a Summer season at Blackpool, complained that the stage show alongside the TV show was restricting their ability to accept offers of other work and the show was abandoned.
In 2010, twelve years after the TV series ended ,a touring show featuring two of the original cast Barry Howard and Nikki Kelly went on the road for a six month run.
This time things were opposite to the reaction of the 1983 production, critics loved it, but some shows had to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
Set in the 1950’s at the fictional Maplin’s holiday camp, the series followed the lives of the camp’s management and entertainers, most of them struggling actors or has-beens.
From Peggy’s burning ambition to become a Yellow coat, Spike’s attempts to become a top class comic, to Ted’s scheming and scamming of both management and campers . Then there was Gladys’ amorous advances towards Jeffrey Fairbrother (to no avail) and later to Clive Dempster (with a little more success). Not forgetting Mr Partridge the Children’s Entertainer who hated “kids”. Happy days !
2010 Touring Show
This show adapted scenes and storylines from episodes of the television series including: A Night Not To Remember and Maplin Intercontinental.
The audience were treated as campers during scenes involving camp entertainment which included musical numbers and audience participation.
2010 Touring Show
2010 Touring Show Cast
Barry Howard – Barry Stuart-Hargreaves
Nikki Kelly – Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves
Peter Amory – Jeffrey Fairbrother
Abigail Finley – Peggy Ollerenshaw
Rebecca Bainbridge – Gladys Pugh
Damian Williams – Ted Bovis
Ben Roddy – Spike Dixon
Richard Colson – William Partridge
Andrew Fettes – Fred Quillet
Kate Burrell – Sylvia Garns
Lauren Harrison – Betty Whistler
Carrie Laurence – Tracey Bentwood.
Written and Created by: Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Executive Producer: David Croft
Original Transmission Dates: 1st January 1980 – 30th January 1988
In the early years of the show, a musical entitled He-De-Hi the holiday musical was produced. Labelled as a “summer pantomime” by its critics, the production featured most of the TV cast plus several new characters. It did not follow the television storylines, but it was a success nonetheless. It did a summer season in Bournmouth in 1983, a Christmas season in London in 1983 and a summer season in Blackpool in 1984. It was short lived, however, when some of the cast complained that filming the TV series and doing the summer show limited their offers of acting jobs elsewhere.
At the height of its popularity, the BBC had plans to make it into a feature film, but nothing ever came of it.
In August 2009, a Hi-de-Hi! stage show toured.