In 1980s was awash with British sitcoms with one of the favourites being Hi-de-Hi. The programme is set in a fictional holiday camp called Maplins back in the early 1960s and follows the lives of the camp stuff (similar to Love Island but with less swearing, wetter weather and a few more clothes!)
The staff were all aspiring or retired actors and showmen. They shared a bunk room with a single cot each and a modest chest of drawers. It was a far cry from the luxury provided by Serviced Apartment Birmingham company http://www.8waterloostreet.co.uk/serviced-apartments-birmingham-city-centre.html . Let’s take a look at some of the key characters:
- Jeffrey Fairbrother – Jeffrey is a Professor from Cambridge University and came from a privileged background. He was often quite removed from the staff at Maplins and the holiday goers and found some of Ted’s bawdy humour a little too much to take.
- Ted Bovis – The camp host and came from an entertainment background although he rarely talked about his previous work life. Ted was ever the scam artist, always running some sort of money making scheme or another. He was a long standing member of the camp staff and shared a chalet with Spike. Ted always refused to wear the staff ‘Yellow coat’ (similar to Butlins Red Coats) as he felt like he was more skilled and ‘above’ the other staff members. He often complained about the customers who holidayed at the came and that his talents were wasted on them.
- Gladys Pugh –Gladys came to Maplins from Wales and rose through the ranks to become Chief Yellow Coat. Gladys was not a feminist and disliked the other female workers, she was in fact a ‘Gladysist’ only interested in herself. When Jeffrey arrived at Maplins she fell for him immediately. Although this was always a one-sided love and Jeffrey never reciprocated her love.
- Spike Dixon – Spike was the other half of Ted Bovis’ act. He always tried to develop his act and made a lot of his own costumes. Spike was the honest one and never ran any money making schemes of his own, unlike most of the other yellow coats.
- Peggy Ollerenshaw – Peggy was the Yellow Coats maid although she always dreamed of becoming a yellow coat. Ted took Peggy under his wing and often protected her from Gladys rages, however he often used this relationship to his advantage and would use Peggy’s gullibility to help him get away with one of his scams. Peggy could often be found helping out the camp staff, usually dressed up in one silly costume or another.
The holiday camp world has evolved slightly since Hi-de-Hi but the park entertainment staff and chalet style accommodation still remains and has become a staple for family holidays in the UK.