Hi-de-Hi! began recording in October 1979 and made it's BBC 1 debut on New Years Day 1980 with a pilot episode and quickly began one of the biggest comedy series of the 1980's drawing in some 13 million regular viewers.
It was the third collaboration between writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft, becoming their biggest instant hit. Filmed at the now demolished Warner's Holiday Centre at Dovercourt Bay, Harwich, the show was a phenomenon. It's title became a catchphrase echoed throughout the land.
Fondly remembered are ex University professor Jeffrey Fairbrother (SIMON CADELL) who arrives at Maplins in the spring of 1959 to take up a place as Entertainments Manager. He soon encounters wily camp host Ted Bovis (PAUL SHANE) who has plenty of fiddles up his sleeve, whilst trying to teach the art of comedy to new camp comic Spike Dixon (JEFFREY HOLLAND). Smouldering chief Yellowcoat Gladys Pugh (RUTH MADOC) is the voice of Radio Maplin and soon has her heart set on Jeffrey. Riding intructor Fred Quilly (FELIX BOWNESS) is an ex jockey who wants his riding licence back, Mr. Partridge (LESLIE DWYER) the Punch and Judy man hates kids and the ballroom champions Yvonne and Barry Stuart-Hargreaves (DIANE HOLLAND and BARRY HOWARD) are a cut above everybody - or so they think. Ambitious chalet maid Peggy Ollerenshaw (SU POLLARD) yearns to be a Yellowcoat and will stop at nothing to convince the entertainments staff that they should give her a go. Among the Yellowcoats on the staff are leggy rebel Sylvia Garnsey (NIKKI KELLY), buxom Betty Whistler (RIKKI HOWARD), Stanley and Bruce Matthews (THE WEBB TWINS) and Gary Bolton (TERENCE CREASEY, later CHRIS ANDREWS).
Future episodes also feature the caddish Squadron Leader Clive Dempster DFC (DAVID GRIFFIN), Spike's Yellowcoat girlfriend April Wingate (LINDA REGAN), dirty tramp come entertainer Uncle Sammy Morris (KENNETH CONNOR) and stand in ballroom dancer Julian Dalrymple-Sykes (BEN ARIS)
Hi-de-Hi! won a BAFTA award for Best Comedy in 1984 and spawned a West End stage musical and a play.
After 58 episodes the writers decided that the fun around the Olympic Sized Pool should stop with a moving final closure of Maplins. The final episode was broadcast in January 1988. However the show and it's stars live on in repeats and DVD releases.
2009 will be the 30th anniversary of the recording of the first episode. A cast reunion and a book are planned to ensure that Maplins Holiday Camp and the laughter it gave a nation will never be forgotten.
Mr. Partridge suffers the effects of too much banana...
Barry and Yvonne are disturbed in the night...
Jeff and Sylvia make a great pairing. Gladys is not so sure.
A star is born. Peggy Ollerenshaw rehearsing her Oscar speech.
Banter on the beach at Crimpton for Spike and Ted.