Keeping memory of Hi-de-Hi alive

IN its heyday the comedy Hi-de-Hi! attracted more than 15million viewers who followed the trials and tribulations of the entertainment staff at the Maplins holiday camp.

James Hore

IN its heyday the comedy Hi-de-Hi! attracted more than 15million viewers who followed the trials and tribulations of the entertainment staff at the Maplins holiday camp.

But what many do not know is that much of the popular series was actually filmed on location at the Warners Holiday Camp in Dovercourt.

The location filming took place every year from 1979 to 1987 and the cast and crew would have been regularly seen around the town.

The march of progress has seen the Warners camp close to being replaced by houses, but one couple from the seaside town are hoping to keep the Hi-de-Hi! memories alive.

Tony and Joanne Tarran are hosting a weekend of celebrations in the town later this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the pilot episode being filmed.

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The October event coincides with the launch of a book which tells the story of the popular sit-com and the Tarrans are hoping to hear from local people who have anecdotes Hi-de-Hi! being filmed in the local area.

Mr Tarran believes more could be done to celebrate Dovercourt's links to the comedy, pointing to the way in which Thetford has capitalised on its links with Dad's Army, which was written by the same duo as Hi-de-Hi!, Jimmy Perry and David Croft.

The writers will both be attending the anniversary occasion along with more than a dozen members of the cast including Sue Pollard, Barry Howard, Jeff Holland.

Mr Tarran said: “A fair amount of the filming was actually done on location - the only bits in the studio were the staffroom and the entertainments office.

“And since the camp closed Dovercourt has not known what it wants to be - a port or a holiday town.

“Perhaps I look at it through rose tinted spectacles, but I think it is just something that the town should be proud of - it is not really part of the town's heritage at the moment and I think it should be.

“They spent eight years in this town and it seems to have been forgotten which is a shame.”

Mr Tarran said he hoped one day there could even be a museum in Dovercourt dedicated to the town's association with the show.

Tickets for the weekend of celebrations on October 17 and 18 have sold out, although there is a waiting list for cancellations.

Anyone with stories about the comedy during its time in Essex can contact Mr Tarran at hi-de-hi@sky.com or by post to 32 Beach Road, Dovercourt, Harwich, CO12 3RP.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk