If you’ve got the blues, then I’ve got some news,
Join in the fun in your blue suede shoes,
With the holiday rock, the holiday rock,
The ho-de-ho-de-hi-de-hi holiday rock!
A 1980s Brit Com
set in Maplins, a 1950s holiday camp. It was created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who also wrote Dads Army
and You Rang, M'Lord?
. The title refers to the catchphrase exchanged between the campers and staff. The series focused mainly on the lives of the camp's staff, most of whom were either past their glory days, or trying to break into the entertainment industry.
Main characters include:
- Professor Jeffrey Fairbrother (Simon Cadell) (Seasons 1-5) - A shy upper-class Cambridge professor who is escaping his real job and his wife by working at Maplins as the Entertainments Manager.
- Squadron-Leader The Honourable Clive Dempster DFC (David Griffin) (Seasons 6-9) - Jeffrey's replacement as Entertainments Manager. Clive is also upper-class, but is brash, flirtatious, and perpetually on the make.
- Gladys Pugh (Ruth Madoc) - Chief Yellowcoat and Sports Organiser - is very bossy and has an enormous and unrequited love for Jeffrey. (She transfers her crush to Clive the moment Jeff is gone.)
- Ted Bovis (Paul Shane) - The Camp Host - is very popular with the campers due to his cheerful and charming personality. Ted is rather dishonest, and has a number of schemes going to make extra money out of the campers, such as rigging raffles so that he always wins.
- Spike Dixon (Jeffrey Holland) - The Camp Comic - is young, enthusiastic, and believes his job at Maplins is the first rung on the ladder to stardom.
- Fred Quilly (Felix Bowness) - The Camp Riding instructor - was once a jockey but had his licence removed for dishonesty.
- Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves (Diane Holland) and Barry Stuart-Hargreaves (Barry Howard) - A married couple who are the camp's Ballroom Dancers. They are both outrageous snobs, despite not actually being upper class as they pretend to be. (Ironically, the genuinely upper class characters, Jeffrey and Clive, are entirely unsnobbish.). Barry disappeared midway though series 7, to be replaced by Yvonne's previous dance partner, Julian Dalrymple-Sykes, a rather more down-to-Earth character who also worked as a pig farmer.
- Mr Partridge AKA "Uncle Willie" (Leslie Dwyer) - The camp Children’s Entertainer - a hopeless alcoholic who hates children. Replaced in Series 7 (following Dwyer's death) by the very similar "Uncle Sammy" Morris (Kenneth Connor).
- Peggy Ollerenshaw (Su Pollard) - A Chalet Maid who wants to become a Yellowcoat.
- Sylvia Garnsy (Nikki Kelly) - An attractive blonde Yellowcoat with a long-running rivalry with Gladys.
- The Yellowcoats - Stanley & Bruce (collectively known as the Twins), Gary, Betty, Mary, Val, Tracey, April, Dawn, Babs. An ever-revolving group of young camp workers.
This show provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Mr Partridge. Usually it's played for laughs, but in one episode it's revealed that he slid into alcoholism after his career was disrupted by his service in World War I.
- Arch-Enemy: Gladys and Sylvia.
- Ascended Extra: Julian first appeared as a guest character in series 5, filling in while Barry recovered from a back injury. He returned in series 7 as Barry's permanent replacement.
- Bawdy Song: Despite what Mr Partridge thinks, "Eskimo Nell" is not fit for the ears of small children.
- Blind Without 'Em: Peggy.
- British Accents: A very diverse group, including Received Pronunciation (Jeffrey, Clive, Yvonne), Yorkshire (Ted), Birmingham (Spike), Welsh (Gladys), Lancashire (Peggy), Nottingham (Barry), Cockney (Fred, Mr. Partridge), and various others.
- British Brevity: 58 episodes in 9 seasons over 8 years.
- Butt Monkey: Peggy, and Spike to a lesser extent.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Jeffrey is completely hopeless in front of a microphone. This is, in itself, utterly hilarious.
- Catch Phrase: The ubiquitous phrase "Hi-De-Hi" itself, said by everyone.
- Character Outlives Actor: Leslie Dwyer, who played Punch and Judy man Mr. Partridge, died in 1986 between Series 6 and 7. His character was written out in a bizarre and rather tasteless manner; what appeared to be his dead body was found floating in a swimming pool with a knife sticking out of its back, but when the police fished it out it turned out to be a mannequin, and someone eventually found a letter from Mr Partridge explaining that he'd staged his own death and gone to live with a pub landlady in Cornwall. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context and it wasn't very funny, either. He was replaced by the similar Sammy Morris, played by Kenneth Connor.
- The Charmer: Clive flirts with all the girls, much to Gladys' annoyance, as she wants him all to herself. Ted charms the campers, but the staff are relatively immune to his charm.
- Cheap Costume: Spike's endless array of naff comedy costumes.
- Child Hater: Mr Partridge. Which is something of a problem given that he's the camp's Punch and Judy Man.
- Cloudcuckoolander: "Potty" Peggy the chalet maid. Poor dear Peggy is desperate to be a Yellow Coat, but no-one will give her a chance. She often gets dragged into the latest Zany Scheme, in the desperate hope it will help her chance of promotion.
- The Comically Serious: Jeffrey Fairbrother is a very serious chap.
- Coincidental Broadcast: At the end of 'Maplins Intercontinental'.
- Crack! Oh My Back!: Barry does his back in in one episode, leading Yvonne to ring up Julian for help with her act.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The series' theme song, "Holiday Rock", is sung by Paul Shane, who played Ted Bovis.
- Double Entendre: A mainstay of Ted's act, much to the disgust of Gladys and Yvonne. (Of course, the campers love it.)
- Downer Ending: In the series finale, Alec Foster, Joe Maplin's enforcer, announces that for the following season, the camps are to be overhauled, and that, as part of this, the entire Entertainment staff are being let go. This is not so hard on Clive and Gladys, who were already planning to move to Australia, but it is rather harder on the other staff members, all of whom were planning to return for the following season, and particularly hard on Peggy, who had finally realised her dream of becoming a Yellowcoat with only two weeks left in the season. The fact that most of the staff remain upbeat in the face of this may make this more of a Bittersweet Ending.
- Dumbass DJ: Gladys is Radio Maplin's DJ, a role that she uses to troll for gifts from the campers, and indulge her delusion that she can sing.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first episode has a few oddities - Fred is contemptuous of the old horses in his care, instead of being devoted to them as he is later on. Gladys doesn't open her Radio Maplin announcements with her usual 'Hello campers, hi de hi!', but instead starts with 'Radio Maplin'. Spike and Ted refer to Jeffrey as 'The Professor', rather that Spike calling him 'Mr Fairbrother' and Ted calling him 'Jeff'. There is also a camp singer in the first two episodes called Marty Storm who is never seen again.
- Facial Dialogue: A speciality of Simon Cadell's.
- The Fifties: Though the writers don't hit you over the head with the period setting, campers can often be seen with Brylcreemed hair and other fifties fashion horrors, 1950s music is played in the background, characters make references to foodstuffs of the period, and the main characters occasionally mention their war experiences in passing.
- Fish out of Water: Jeffrey, an upper-class Shrinking Violet academic in charge of a holiday camp full of working class people.
- Frozen in Time: The Fifties were the heyday of holiday camps. In later decades, the rise of cheap travel to continental Europe lead to holidays overseas becoming much more popular. (There is a theory that The Credit Crunch may lead to a revival in popularity of camps.)
- Gentleman Snarker: Clive. Scion of an aristocratic family (though he takes little pride in his background) and an effortless charmer, particularly with the female staff, but has no work ethic whatsoever and is often in debt, particularly after his family stop his allowance in a bid to force him to return home, while he routinely squanders the meagre salary he is paid by Maplin's. Perhaps a bit lean on the "witty" side of the trope, but he's not unintelligent (which prevents him from being an Upper-Class Twit), just incredibly lazy.
- Geographic Flexibility: Maplins has random bits added to it as the plot requires (even though the series was shot in a real holiday camp.) Also, the location of the main character's chalets in relation to each other varied according to plot needs.
- The Ghost:
- Camp owner Joe Maplin is never seen, only talked about.
- As is Miss Cathcart, Peggy's apparently terrifying immediate superior.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Mr Partridge.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Gladys varies from being on-key to off-key. The effect is ghastly but sounds nothing like an actual tone-deaf person would.
- Hufflepuff House: The Yellowcoats are a pretty generic bunch, and the campers are usually so unimportant to the story they are virtually part of the scenery.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: All the older members of staff have careers that are on the slide, which is why they work in a holiday camp, and not somewhere more salubrious. Yvonne and Barry are former champion ballroom dancers whose talents are no longer in demand anywhere else, Ted is a comic that never cracked the big time, Fred is desperate to get his jockey's licence back so he can ride professionally again, and Mr Partridge is a former music hall entertainer.
- Jerkass: Gladys, when dealing with Peggy or Sylvia.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Ted feels he would make a better Entertainment Manager than Jeff. Whilst Jeff is honest and Ted isn't, it has to be said that Ted is much better at presenting to the campers than Jeffrey is.
- Lethal Chef: Fred Larkin, whose awful cooking regularly causes illness.
- Love Hurts: Poor Gladys and her hopeless crush on Jeffrey. Also, Ted's doomed romance with a woman half his age, any time Peggy's interested in anyone, and Spike breaking up with his first childhood sweetheart. Hi-De-Hi! has something of a bittersweet strain running through it, never more than when one of the characters is is love.
- Non-Idle Rich: Jeffrey is mocked by Ted for being an Upper-Class Twit, but he's actually a decent, hardworking guy who treats everyone with respect. Clive, on the other hand...
- Not So Above It All: Jeff, who regularly gets embroiled in the Zany Scheme of the week, despite being the...
- Only Sane Man
- Orphaned Punchline: Often we only get to hear the punchline to Ted's jokes. (The punchlines generally sound like the joke would have been rather ribald for the Fifties when the show is set, but not for the Eighties when the show was made.)
- Present Day Past: The show started in 1980 - Jeff can be seen wearing flared trousers in some scenes, and the girl Yellowcoats wear shorts (and sometimes skirts) that are anachronistically short.
- Put on a Bus: Barry. Almost a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome because, although we know he ran away from his wife and his job, we never find out why or where he went.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Many former UK holiday camp workers (both from the time the series was set and more recently) have noted that the series was toned down from the reality of working in holiday camps.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Jeffrey goes out of his way to be scrupulously fair.
- Road Sign Reversal: Ted does this in order to prevent Clive's relatives from getting to the church in time to stop Clive and Gladys' wedding.
- Seemingly Wholesome '50s Girl: Gladys.
- Shout-Out: In the final scene of "Nice People with Nice Manners", Ted and Spike are spending their day off having a picnic by the pond featured in John Constable's painting The Hay Wain◊. Spike tells Ted that Constable painted the house by the pond; Ted remarks that it could do with another coat.
- Show Some Leg: One of the main purposes of the female Yellowcoats. Used both in-story, especially in Zany Schemes, and also for the viewer.
- Sitcom Character Archetypes: Jeffrey is The Square, Ted is The Wisecracker, Clive is The Charmer, Peggy is The Goofball
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Ted vs. Yvonne and Barry. Ted usually wins.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Subverted in "Wedding Bells". Clive's family are trying to get to the church to stop his wedding to Gladys, but thanks to Ted's Road Sign Reversal and the church scheduling two weddings in one afternoon, they arrive just in time to interrupt the second wedding, by which time Clive and Gladys have already departed for their honeymoon.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Definitely Jeffrey. Definitely not Clive.
- Stock British Characters: Clive Dempster is the Upper Class RAF Officer.
- Straight Man: The writers deliberately did not give Simon Cadell (Jeffrey Fairbrother) any jokes in his lines. The humour of the character comes from Cadell's brilliantly dry delivery and facial expressions.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted with Jeffrey and Clive. Jeffrey is shy, especially with women, and hardworking. Clive is an outrageous flirt and a total shyster. Played straight with Mr Partridge and Sammy Morris - both are lazy alcoholics who dislike children, despite being children's entertainers.
- The Team Wannabe: Peggy for the Yellowcoats.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Despite the squabbling, the Hi-De-Hi! gang always pull together when they are under threat from outsiders, such as senior Maplins staff visiting from Head Office.
- Underdressed for the Occasion: In "Nice People with Nice Manners", Barry and Yvonne throw a black tie soirée in their chalet after the campers have gone to bed, and only invite fellow entertainment staffers whom they believe will behave themselves. However, Peggy accidentally throws the invitations away, remembering only that one was for Jeffrey; Jeffrey is sure they would have invited the entire entertainment staff, and in delivering the invitations verbally, Peggy claims that the party is a pyjama party. Although Jeffrey and Gladys (who was not on the guest list) arrive in evening wear, the others show up in nightwear except for Ted, who is dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, and Spike, who is dressed as a comedy priest.
- Victorian Britain: Mr Partridge states in one episode that he was brought up "strictly Victorian". (As Fred points out, this is because "when you was a boy, she was still on the throne.") It explains a lot.
- Video Credits: They are quite clearly extra footage, not stock footage, as the actors are out of character. (This is particularly noticeable with Diane Holland (Yvonne), who smiles kindly, rather than looking cold and snooty as she does when in character.)
- Video Inside, Film Outside
- What Did I Do Last Night?: In "A Night Not to Remember", Jeffrey wakes up after a night of heavy drinking, nude and with Gladys' bra in his bed. He becomes paranoid that he and Gladys spent the night together and that this will be used against him in divorce court. Gladys, annoyed at his lack of concern for her reputation, produces a policeman staying at the camp who claims in front of the assembled staff that he saw Gladys leave Jeffrey's chalet after only a few minutes. However, after the staff have gone, she tells Jeffrey that the policeman was just saying what she told him to say, and he never saw her enter or leave Jeffrey's chalet. She then says that she knows exactly what happened that night... and has no plans to tell him.
- Work Com
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Peggy, who loves to describe current goings-on in the camp as events in a Film Noir.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Peggy's dream of becoming a Yellowcoat is finally granted in the series finalenote , and although there are only two weeks left in the season when she gets the job, she is ready and eager to sign up for the following season. Then Alec Foster, Joe Maplin's enforcer, shows up to announce that the camps will be given a complete revamp for the following season... and as part of this re-vamp, the Yellowcoats and other entertainers are being sacked en masse.
- Zany Scheme