Monday, 12 February 2018
Why did we decide to cover 'Hi-de-Hi!' for Episode 19? Partly because it was so different to what we have been doing over the last few months and also because we really enjoy it as a show.
Although Perry & Croft's most celebrated (and repeated!) series is 'Dad's Army', 'Hi-de-Hi!' is worthy of a great deal of praise, too.
It's a great ensemble piece with each of the main characters getting their chance in the spotlight.
Andrew asked me in the article who was my favourite character and I said it was probably Fred Quilley the camp's riding instructor (played by the wonderful Felix Bowness). But in some ways it depends on the episode and who it is focusing on that week.
Fred is certainly a very likeable character and I really love the way that he really cares for his horses despite the fact that he moans about them almost as much. There is a very touching episode where his favourite horse Flight is ill and as I said on the podcast it made me a little teary at the end. The horse is okay by the way.
For a comedy series it has quite a few stories that can be very emotional. One such story is 'Stripes' where Gladys' half-brother Gareth visits the camp. His visit coincides with a spate of Peeping Tom incidents and as similar things have happened around him in the past she sends him away. Only to find that it wasn't him...
It features a very moving performance from Talfryn Thomas. There is also a parallel storyline about Gladys being identified as the most efficent Yellow Coat by Joe Maplin and she puts some stripes on her sleeves which causes problems amongst the other Yellow Coats. Now in hindsight I can see that she is being a bit silly, but every time I watch it I find myself getting cross about the way the staff treat Gladys.
To provoke strong feelings like that means that the characters have to be very well developed and likeable.
One last thing; when Jeffrey Fairbrother reads the letters from Joe Maplin, Simon Cadell didn't want the actual words on his piece of paper as he wanted to learn and act the scene.
The prop department would write something on the letter, so that if the light shone through words could still be seen. On one occasion, a practical joke was played on him and something was written that was very rude, causing him to corpse when he read it in the rehearsal. The same letter was used on the actual take, which made him laugh again in front of the audience. Suffice to say the next time a letter was written, they were not allowed to repeat this!
'Hi-de-Hi!' is a very interesing and fun show and once again one we'd recommend.
(By Lisa Parker)
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