So, here we are. After looking at the pilot, Series 1, and Series 2 through 5, we reach the conclusion of our series of articles comparing Hi-de-Hi! as released on DVD, and the version repeated on BBC Two last year. Unfortunately, we run into a little bit of a problem.
Throughout the whole rest of the show – the entire Dempster run, in fact – the two versions are absolutely identical. Sure, one episode wasn’t shown, as detailed below, but every single other episode had precisely no edits made to it whatsoever. Which even for Dirty Feed, leaves us with a bit of a damp squib of an ending.
In an attempt to save this piece from being an entire waste of time then, I have a few other notes on the remaining episodes of the series…
One thing which was notable the 2016 run of Hi-de-Hi! is that it was, in general, treated with far more respect than the 2015 repeats. Sure, four episodes were missed out of the run for various reasons, but every single other episode ran in the correct order, in stark contrast to 2015. Here’s a comparison of the two repeat runs, at least for BBC Two network1:
|2015 Repeats||2016 Repeats|
|6.1 Together Again||6.1 Together Again|
|6.2 Ted at the Helm||6.2 Ted at the Helm|
|6.5 Hey Diddle Diddle,
Who’s on the Fiddle?
|6.3 Opening Day|
|6.4 Off with the Motley||6.4 Off with the Motley|
|6.3 Opening Day||6.5 Hey Diddle Diddle,
Who’s on the Fiddle?
|7.3 Who Killed Mr Partridge?||6.6 Raffles|
|7.2 It’s Murder||7.2 It’s Murder|
|6.6 Raffles||7.3 Who Killed Mr Partridge?|
|7.4 Spaghetti Galore||7.4 Spaghetti Galore|
|7.5 A Lack of Punch||7.5 A Lack of Punch|
|7.6 Ivory Castles in the Air||7.6 Ivory Castles in the Air|
|8.3 Orphan of the Storm||7.7 Man Trap|
|8.1 Pigs Might Fly||8.1 Pigs Might Fly|
|8.2 The New Broom||8.2 The New Broom|
|7.7 Man Trap||8.3 Orphan of the Storm|
|8.4 God Bless Our Family||8.4 God Bless Our Family|
|8.5 Only the Brave||8.5 Only the Brave|
|9.3 The Perils of Peggy||8.6 September Song|
|9.1 Tell It to the Marines||9.1 Tell It to the Marines|
|8.6 September Song||9.2 Marry Go Round|
|9.2 Marry Go Round||9.3 The Perils of Peggy|
|9.4 Let Them Eat Cake||9.4 Let Them Eat Cake|
|9.5 Wedding Bells||9.5 Wedding Bells|
|9.6 The Wind of Change||9.6 The Wind of Change|
The 2015 order has many problems; the most obvious being:
- The opening day of the camp was shown after the season had already started,
- Camp Controller Alec Foster was chased from the camp and then arrived for the first time two episodes later, and
- The two-parter It’s Murder/Who Killed Mr Partridge was shown the wrong way round, meaning we get the resolution of the cliffhanger before the story had even started.
It’s difficult to understand how any of this happened. Did somebody assume that an 80s sitcom could be shown in any order, and didn’t realise that the show started to become serialised at an extremely early stage? It does rather feel like somebody rather underestimated what kind of show Hi-de-Hi! was.
On the plus side: the 2016 order, aside from the four missed episodes, is identical to the original run. We always complain when things like this happen, but we often don’t note when people listen. The issue was fixed for the 2016 run, and so credit is thoroughly deserved.
Series 7 Episode 1: The Great Cat Robbery
The 1985 Christmas special was not shown, in either the 2015 or 2016 repeat runs – presumably due to the hour-long episode not fitting the slot. It would have been nice to just not show one of the other Afternoon Classics programmes one day in order to squeeze it in – or perhaps save it back for showing at Christmas – rather than just not showing it at all, mind.
The episode is mainly notable for Gladys and Clive nearly sleeping together, which is an important enough detail in their ongoing relationship that means it’s a real shame it wasn’t shown. The other major thing about the episode is that it features Ted and the gang drugging all the campers, which is probably the single most reprehensible thing Ted ever did in the whole run of the show. (With the exception of nearly cutting off Peggy’s head with a guillotine in the final series.)
Series 7 Episode 7: Man Trap
The BBC Two repeat on 25th October 2016 featured an obit caption for Jimmy Perry, who died two days previously:
A small thing to do, perhaps, but a lovely touch nonetheless.
Series 8 Episode 3: Orphan of the Storm
An episode notable for what wasn’t cut. Every single time it’s used on the show, the word “bastard” was left intact rather than censored on the 2016 repeat broadcasts. This episode contains the finest example. Rather than being muttered, or said in a friendly way, we get the following from Camp Controller Alec Foster, in the most vehement way possible:
ALEC FOSTER: You bastards. You bastards!
While it’s a slightly different timeslot and channel, I’m amused at the fuss whenever EastEnders uses the word, considering BBC Two has merrily used it a few hours earlier in the day.
Series 9 Episode 6: The Wind of Change
And to round off this set of articles, here’s something fun that’s really nothing to do with edits per se. Take a look at the final shot of the final episode of the series:
Weirdly enough, they’ve done a video freeze of the small section of picture with Peggy jumping up in the air, to keep her frozen whilst the rest of the picture moves. Why they did this rather than just freezing the whole picture, I have no idea. If you look closely, you can even see that the video freeze of Peggy means she stays entirely still whilst the rest of the picture suffers from film wobble, which is faintly bizarre.
Incidentally, that video is from the very original TX in 1988, uploaded by @thetvmuseum. I found the Little and Large trail after it to be mildly humorous, which presumably invalidates every single opinion I’ve ever had about comedy.
This series of articles has been a bit of a weird one for me. Usually when writing this kind of thing, I keep everything I need to say purely in one post. But tackling every single episode of Hi-de-Hi! – all 58 episodes – is the biggest project I’ve ever taken on in this vein, and it means this little exercise has been rather more drawn out than usual.
Moreover, the project turned into an entirely different one from what I expected. After watching the pilot, I was convinced I was going to be in this for the long haul: every single episode mercilessly meddled with. But that really isn’t the case at all. Once you get past Series 1, the meddling reduces drastically. And the latter half of the show – the entire Dempster run – has no changes whatsoever.
The biggest unfinished story for me here is with the repeat broadcast of both the pilot and The Day of Reckoning – the fourth episode of Series 1. These two had far more changes made than any other episodes, and crucially: both had the laugh track significantly, erm, “enhanced”. So: were these the ONLY two episodes where this kind of tampering with the laugh track took place? Or was it done for many other episodes – say, perhaps for a repeat run back in the 90s – and it’s just those versions of the other episodes weren’t broadcast this time around? That’s an investigation for another day, but it’d be interesting to know the full story on that one.
In the meantime, I simply want to say one thing:
MR. PARTRIDGE SAYS “FUCK OFF” THERE, COME ON.
I have to draw the line somewhere to stop myself going batty, and detailing the changes for BBC Two Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is it I’m afraid. But don’t let me stop you. Yes, you, specifically. ↩