The Comedy Vault – Hi-De-Hi!

Hi-De-Hi! (BBC1, 1980-1988)

This is another sitcom that was consistently popular throughout the 80s and beyond. Hi-De-Hi! was a nostalgic look back to an era that was a couple of decades ago even then, to what life was like working at a holiday camp. There were plenty of memorable characters who got up to all kinds of things, and it’s no surprise that viewers all had their own favourites.

The Yellowcoats who work at Maplin’s try their best to entertain the campers, but sometimes it is not easy. Among them (in the earliest series) is Jeffrey Fairbrother, who is supposed to be in charge of things, but mostly there is chaos happening around him, and he struggles to work with the staff. The main ones include comics Ted and Spike, and senior Yellowcoat Gladys.

And who could forget Peggy, who always aspired to be a Yellowcoat (and made this fact clear about six times an episode), and the unseen Joe Maplin who was the boss. This was one of those sitcoms that found a winning formula and milked it for all it was worth – calmly suggest a new idea to entertain the hard to please campers, put it all together, watch things go horribly wrong, wonder why it went so badly.

Hi-De-Hi! went on to make big names of some of the cast, including Ruth Madoc and Su Pollard, who even went on to have a big hit single (although you won’t hear this much on the radio nowadays apparently). And this was another sitcom that did well enough for there to be Christmas specials, and repeat runs for years after. All of the nine series have been released on DVD, and there was even a short stage tour.

Another thing that is interesting is how the main core of the cast remained together, and went on to appear in further sitcoms, although they played different characters of course (and again, they weren’t set in the present). Firstly there was You Rang, M’Lord?, and this was followed by Oh, Doctor Beeching! (which was almost a decade on from the end of Hi-De-Hi! by this point). Neither of these did that badly, although they are definitely not hold in the save level of affection.

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One thought on “The Comedy Vault – Hi-De-Hi!

  1. George Kaplan says:

    Hi-De-Hi!, A sitcom that was often good and reliably funny with Simon Caddell but deteriorated precipitously when he/Jeffrey Fairbrother left/was written out in an inept fashion. That said, the series only occasionally sank into the waters of the godforsaken (the mannequin floating in a swimming pool mistaken for a victim of murder two-parter being a prime example).
    Sadly Su Pollard’s Peggy was always unbearable; she was like a metaphor for electoral insanity.

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