The antics of the employees of Maplins holiday camp entertained viewers for nearly a decade and have made huge stars of the cast of Hi-de-Hi! Thirty years after the last episode was shown on January 30, 1988, have been sharing their memories with the BBC.
“All these years later, people tell me how wonderful it was and how we love the program,” says Jeffrey Holland, who played in the field of the comedian Spike Dixon.
“You can’t get to 19 or 20 million viewers now.
“I find with young actors now who know me from the 1980s, and they are often excited to get to know me for that reason, and that is very rewarding.”
Hi-de-Hi! it was the Netherlands, great opportunity, with the role of Spike written with him in mind.
“It was the first thing that ever made my face known,” the actor says.
“Any other thing that I have done that already, or will be in the future, I’ll always be that bloke from Hi-de-Hi! and I don’t want it any other way.”
Set in the 1950s and early ‘ 60s, Hi-de-Hi! followed the trials and tribulations of the camp staff at a time when the popularity of the national holiday was already in decline.
The vacation package were increasingly attracted to the campers abroad – in the last episode of the sitcom of many of the staff in Maplins lose their jobs.
In real life, the holiday camp where the outdoor scenes were filmed, Warner in the small coastal city at dovercourt in Essex, which closed in the 1990s and since then has become a residential building.
The star of Your Pollard, who played chalet maid Peggy Ollerenshaw, remember how to spend time in the place brought the group together.
“There was only two or three of us in it – there was a good dozen, and that instigated the family thing,” she says.
Hi-de-Hi! – who won a Bafta award in 1984 for Best Comedy Series – was based on writer Jimmy Perry’s experience as a redcoat at Butlins in the 1950’s.
(He and co-writer David Croft has created some of Britain’s best-known comedies, including Dad’s Army and it Is not Half Hot, Mom, while Croft was also responsible for the comedy classic can Be Served? and ‘Allo ‘Allo!)
Hi-de-Hi! he became known for his long-term comedy of topics, such as the burning passion of Gladys Pugh (Ruth Madoc) to the camp of the tense and quite innocent manager Jeffrey Fairbrother (Simon cadell), and Peggy dreams of becoming a Yellowcoat.
The popularity of the show led to a stage show, and at one point there were even plans for a movie.
The program of rock and roll melody of Holiday Rock, which was composed by Perry, was released as a single star Paul Shane – that housed Ted Bovis – and reached the uk top 40.
The show was typically filmed in September and October, when the piece will take up residence at The Cliff Hotel at dovercourt, near Harwich.
“We used to move in the last weekend of September, and the weather was always amazing,” recalls Holland.
“We used to call it Croft time – he was legendary with his luck when it came to the weather. He must have had a hotline to the man upstairs.”
However, any fate occurred during the shooting of the long duration of the final show of the series.
“When we did the last week of shooting in October of 1987, the Great Storm happened during the night before our last day of shooting,” says 71-year-old in the Netherlands.
“We had a scene to shoot the next morning, which was to be shot around the pool.
“Fifty-eight poplar trees came down that night – the whole place was destroyed.”
The actor remembers how a member of the crew had a lucky escape.
“When we shot, many of the electricians and the crew stayed in chalets in the holiday camp.
“During the night, with the [wind] blowing, one of the sparks that attacks to use the bathroom and when he returned there was a tree clean through the middle of your chalet.
“If it had been inside he would have been killed – the chalet came down like a box of matches.”
The Cliff Hotel’s former manager John Wade, remember the cast meeting in the lobby as the storm that shook the windows – and that one of them was particularly agitated.
“The night of the hurricane, my night doorman called and said: ‘Ruth Madoc a little bit worried because her room is on the move’,” he recalls.
“They were not adequate outdoor balconies and the support was across the room, and was moving outside in the wind.
“Of course it was moving the floor joists of the room, giving the appearance of the whole room in motion.”
Those few weeks each year, when the cast and crew of Hi-De-Hi! would be fondly remembered by the residents.
“The number of times we sat in our back garden and [he] heard a scream Hi-de-Hi! and Ho-de-Ho! in response,” recalls David Whittle, who lived 200 metres from the camp.
“And if you do not get it right, they did it again and again!”
Tamsin Lord, whose family lived in the neighbourhood of Wix, ” recalls a meeting with the department of props.
“My dad was out of the house, polishing his green Morris Traveller,” she says.
“The prop guy came by and asked to rent the car to take Gladys to the farm. Dad cleaned and smartened up the car, so that shone.
“Gladys is going to be a pig farm. The car came back covered in pig poo. We laughed until snot poured out of our noses. Dad saw the funny side… after you have been well paid for the loan of the car.”
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Pollard says that the reason that the show ended up being where it had been reduced to be rejected by the company, which was the inspiration for the Hi-de-Hi!
“They made thousands, of Warner Camp, because Butlins would not have us,” he says.
“They were trying to get away from the Hi-de-Hi! holiday camp image. But Warner loved us and got £4,000 a week, I think, and it was out of season so great for them.”
For Pollard, who is now 68 years of age, those heady 1980’s days of stay in the country, in the most popular TV shows are, as expected, recalled with great affection.
She describes how the cast would be to explore the Harwich of the culinary scene of Croft, which was something of a foodie – although the word was not in currency at the time – and, as your “dealer”, providing him with his sugar review via your favourite Pontefract cakes.
There was also a tradition, says Pollard, to Croft for the treatment of their stars to a “glass of champagne for every 100 you take what they did.
“It all came out of their budget, and they made sure that we were not filming later that day,” he recalls. “The champagne at the head of the orders!”
Looking back, Pollard and the Netherlands are in agreement about the program’s legacy.
“I’ve heard people on other shows, trying to distance themselves from them as the times before,” Pollard says.
“But I would never want to deny that I was in Hi-de-Hi! as I’m proud to have the good feelings of having been in it.
“I wasn’t just another show; it was a great success.”
“I don’t understand people who give back to what they did,” he says.
“I will always be proud of having been in something that brought so much happiness.”