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21 September 2014
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Hi-de-Hi!

Yellowcoats and entertainers in Hi-de-Hi!

Part Carry On-style farce, part class comedy and part nostalgic romp, Hi-de-Hi! was a heady brew.

Created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the show became their new focus during the dying days of It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

Based on Perry's experiences working as a Butlin's Redcoat following the war, it was set at the fictional Maplin's holiday camp in 1959.

The Hi-de-Hi! cast

As the new season starts, the staff are baffled to discover the place is now being run by Jeffrey Fairbrother (Simon Cadell): a Cambridge archaeology professor who's looking for a change of scene.

The bashful, softly spoken boffin is clearly ill-suited to his new posting and immediately provokes the ire of comic Ted Bovis (Paul Shane), a shyster of the first order who had his eye on the job.

In contrast, Welsh senior Yellowcoat (the show's own take on Butlin's legendary coloured blazers), Gladys Pugh (Ruth Madoc), is very taken with the new arrival.

Other characters included Ted's gormless sidekick: Spike Dixon (Jeffrey Holland); supercilious dance instructors Barry and Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves (Barry Howard and Diane Holland); alcoholic Punch and Judy man Mr Partridge (Leslie Dwyer) and Peggy Ollerenshaw. 

Su Pollard as Peggy in Hi-de-Hi!

Played by Su Pollard, the over-excitable chalet maid won viewers' hearts with her desperate attempts to become a Yellowcoat.

As the series progressed, it became broader in its humour. While Spike could be relied upon to don some outrageous fancy dress costume, the skirts seemed to shrink on the more shapely Yellowcoats.

Come the start of the sixth series, Cadell had gone, to be replaced by David Griffin as Squadron Leader Clive Dempster: the new, more rakish Camp Entertainment Manager.

And so the show trundled on, until its melancholic final episode in 1988, whereupon Maplin's closed down, and the staff went their separate ways.

"Goodnight campers!"

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