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Magazine Feature  

It's three years since the Hi-De-Hi! stars said By-De-Bye to campers. Some of them are making us laugh in You Rang, M'Lord?, but what happened to the rest of the Maplin's staff? Steve Clark reports.

Paul Shane landed his role as holiday camp comic Ted Bovis after Hi-De-Hi! writer Jimmy Perry spotted him making a cameo appearance in Coronation Street with Elsie Tanner in Alf Robert's shop. 

'Hi-De-Hi! was seven years of bliss,' says Paul, who has worked in cabaret as a stand-up comedian and a singer. As well as playing butler Alfred Strokes in You Rang, M'Lord?, Paul also starred as a dodgy theatrical agent in the ITV comedy Very Big, Very Soon, and will appear with Hi-De-Hi! co-star Su Pollard in Dick Whittington at Sheffield this Christmas. 

Paul, 51 and his wife Dory have three daughters, Janice, Andrea and Gillian. 

Simon Cadell had us all in stitches as Maplin's Entertainment's Manager Jeffrey Fairbrother, always fighting off the affections of Gladys Pugh. 

Since leaving the show in 1986 (when he was replaced by David Griffin as Squadron Leader Clive Dempster) Simon has appeared in a string of TV hits including Blott On The Landscape, Life Without George, About Face and Singles, and on stage he has appeared in Hamlet, Blithe Spirit, Noel And Gertie and Don't Dress For Dinner

Simon, 41, who lives in North London with his wife Rebecca and sons Patrick and Alec, is also one of Britain's top voice artists and his smooth tones provide the background to many of television's most popular commercials. 

Barry Howard is amazed that he's still recognised as ballroom dancer Barry Stuart-Hargreaves, even though he left the show more than four years ago. He was replaced by Ben Aris, who played Julian, a former pig farmer. 

'People have such tremendous memories,' Barry smiles. He was axed from the series in 1986 and admits: 'Drink was the problem. I was bevvying it up too much but I'm teetotal now.' 

He's currently playing the narrator in a national tour of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 'I'm loving every moment,' he says, 'I'm a bit of a father figure.' 

Barry, 54, who lives in Bournemouth, is due to play the Dame opposite Ronnie Corbett in Jack And The Beanstalk at Bromley, Kent this Christmas. 

Nikki Kelly, 38, played leggy Yellowcoat Sylvia. She has worked mainly in theatres since and also teaches drama to children. She is currently directing the musical Bugsy Malone at a stage school. At Christmas she'll appear as the Wicked Queen in Snow White at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 

Rikki Howard, 37, who played Yellowcoat Betty, lives in West London and is married to a French businessman. She does some occasional acting, including TV commercials, but devotes most of her time to her two daughters Lalle, six, and Tiana, four. 

Jean Lear was the organ playing Yellowcoat Ramona. She lives in Norwich and teaches piano and organ. Jean and husband Rex also work as television extras and have appeared in many shows including The Chief, Lovejoy and the PD James Mysteries


Su Pollard, who played madcap chalet maid Peggy, describes Hi-De-Hi! simply as 'the biggest break in my entire life.' 

Since the series ended Su, 42, has hosted the TV game show Take The Plunge and is currently appearing with Simon Cadell in the West End farce Don't Dress For Dinner. She's also on screen in You Rang, M'Lord? Next year she hopes to take her one-woman show to Australia and New Zealand. 

When Ruth Madoc, who played lovesick Gladys Pugh, married her second husband John Jackson nine years ago her pals from Hi-De-Hi! were there to wish her well. 'It was great having them there with us,' says Ruth. 'I'm very proud of the show because its standard was maintained from beginning to end. People still ask me why the BBC decided to take it off the air. 

'I've done a lot of different characters since Hi-De-Hi!, not particularly to get Gladys out of my hair but to make sure I could still do it for myself.' 

Her many theatre appearances include the musical Gypsy, Nightclub Confidential and A Taste Of Honey. She is currently in the BBC1 series An Actor's Life For Me, and at Christmas will star as the Wicked Witch in Jack And The Beanstalk at Stevenage. 

Ruth, 47, lives in Cambridge with her husband, parents and daughter Lowri, 17. She also has a son Rhys, 24. The children are from her first marriage to actor Phillip Madoc. 

Playing Fred the jockey in Hi-De-Hi! meant a rare appearance on screen for Felix Bowness. 

For comedian Felix is actually one of Britain's top warm-up men, whose job it is to get  the studio audience falling about laughing before the live recording of shows such as Hi-De-Hi!

In recent years he has warmed-up for The Russ Abbot Show, Singles, The Noel Edmonds Roadshow, You Rang, M'Lord? and Wogan. 'I'd had a little bit of TV work before Hi-De-Hi!, but no one ever knew me,' says Felix. 'Doing the show was brilliant. They were the happiest years of my life.' 

In addition to his warm-ups, Felix, who says he's the 'wrong side of 59,' makes regular after dinner speeches and plays a grocer in You Rang, M'Lord?

'I am very busy,' he says. 'But I can't say no when work comes in. I ought to take it easier but I'm just as keen as ever.' 

Felix now lives in Berkshire with his wife Mavis. Their son Robert is a policeman. 

David and Tony Valentine Webb starred as the Yellowcoats, Stanley and Bruce. 'We perform in real holiday camps, keeping Hi-De-Hi! alive wit hour Happy Campers Show with Felix Bowness,' says freelance broadcaster David, 45, who lives in Suffolk. Tony, the older by ten minutes, lives in Essex. Both are married. 

Gail Harrison played Yellowcoat Tracey and left to star in the C4 comedy Brass as Isobel. She has also appeared in Return Of The Antelope, Come Back, Game, Set and Match, Only Fools And Horses and The Lisa Maxwell Show.

Many of Jeffrey holland's memories of Hi-De-Hi! involve being very cold and wet. For, as Maplin's funnyman Spike Dixon, Jeffrey was frequently thrown into water. 

'I remember a very unpleasant day in the middle of October when I had to end up in the swimming pool,' recalls Jeffrey. 'I was dressed in a bathing suit with a balloon and a blonde wig. 

'It was so cold that my legs started to go numb. I knew if I didn't get out they'd have had to pull me out!' 

Three years after Jimmy Perry and David Croft's series finished, Jeffrey is still recognised as Ted Bovis's hapless sidekick. 'I was on the tube the other day and these guys shouted "Hello Spike, Hi-De-Hi!",' he says. He has since starred in other television comedy series including You Rang, M'Lord? and The Russ Abbot Show, and on stage in Run For Your Wife

This Christmas, Jeffrey, who lives in Somerset with his wife Eleanor and children Lucy, 18, and Sam, 15, will star as Widow Twanky in Aladdin at the New Theatre, Cardiff. 

People who met Diane Holland when she wasn't playing prim and proper ballroom dancer Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves usually got a shock. 'People expected me to be snooty and I hope I'm not like that atall,' she laughs. 

At the height of Hi-De-Hi!'s fame Diane became a forces sweetheart. 'Somebody had written from the Falklands asking for pictures of me and it snowballed.' 

Now 60, Diane is to appear in a new BBC comedy series Grace And Favour, and has also appeared in The Upper Hand, and the TV film Lace II and Bergerac

Diane, who is unmarried and lives in Surrey, trained as a dancer. She will be playing a maiden aunt in Nutcracker at Covent Garden this Christmas. 

Veteran actor Leslie Dwyer found fame late in life as Maplin's miserable Punch And Judy man Mr Partridge. 

Although Hi-De-Hi! made a star of Leslie, he had actually appeared in more than 100 films including the classics The Way Ahead and In Which We Serve

In 1985 ill health forced him to quit Hi-De-Hi! and he died a year later, aged 80. 

His character was not continued, but to balance the show Kenneth Connor joined as Uncle Sammy, a tramp who had become a children's entertainer. 

Kenneth, star of 17 Carry On films, has since appeared in Blackadder the Third, You Rang, M'Lord?, Made In Heaven and Norbert Smith - A Life, and is recording a new series of 'Allo,' Allo

Now in his early 70s, Kenneth lives in London with his wife Margaret. 

Former boxer Chris Andrews - Yellowcoat Gary - now travels the world as a bodyguard to pop stars, including Kylie and Dannii Minogue, Jason Donovan and Chris De Burgh. Chris, 46, who lives in Surrey, once played the Artful Dodger in a stage show of the musical Oliver!, taking over from Monkees star Davey Jones.

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