Hi-De-Hi ! 1980
This show is 40 years old this month!
The idea for Hi-De-Hi was inspired by Jimmy Perry’s experiences as a Butlin’s Red Coat, a job he had during the holiday season after being de-mobbed from the army.
Running for nine series Hi-De-Hi was a huge success in it’s time, attracting regular large audiences. It won a BAFTA in 1984 for best comedy series.
In 2008 the show ranked 40th in a BBC poll to find Britain’s best sitcom. The series also polled number 35, this time in a 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.
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.
At the height of its popularity, the BBC had plans to make it into a feature film, but nothing ever came of it.
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 !
Written and Created by: Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Executive Producer: David Croft
Original Transmission Dates: 1st January 1980 – 30th January 1988