Holiday (TV series)

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Presented byCliff Michelmore
Desmond Lynam
Anne Gregg
John Carter
Kathy Tayler
Anneka Rice
Jill Dando
Craig Doyle
Rizwana Lateef
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes622
Running time29 minutes
Original networkBBC One
Original release2 January 1969 (1969-01-02)[1] –
19 March 2007 (2007-03-19)[2]

Holiday is a long-running UK television programme, which aired mainly on BBC One, sometimes airing on BBC Two. It is the oldest travel review series on UK television, showing every year from 1969 until its demise in 2007.[3]


The programme began in 1969 as Holiday 69, and until the 1990s the year was included in the title in this way. The first presenter was Cliff Michelmore who remained with the series until 1986. In 1974 ITV launched its own travel show, Wish You Were Here...? (1974-2003).

Each week the programme consisted of reports made by presenters visiting holiday resorts and destinations in both the UK or overseas. The locations would be reviewed based on criteria such as amenities, attractions, and hospitality. Despite the programme's interesting locations and resorts, it garnered a reputation for featuring destinations that the majority of viewers would be unable to afford.

The programme spawned several short-lived offshoot programmes, including Summer Holiday (1994–2002); Holiday: Fasten Your Seatbelt (1996–98), in which presenters tried out holiday-related jobs); Holiday: You Call the Shots – in which viewers advised the presenters which sites to visit in a particular destination prior to filming (2001–03); and Holiday on a Shoestring (1999).

It was announced by the BBC in November 2006 that after 37 years and 40 series, Holiday would end in March 2007 at the conclusion of its current run.


Many presenters appeared in the programme, including Cliff Michelmore, Ginny Buckley, Joan Bakewell, Anne Gregg, Frank Bough, Desmond Lynam, Eamonn Holmes, Anneka Rice, Jill Dando, Rizwana Lateef, Craig Doyle[4] and Nana Akua.[5]

In addition, the teams of reporters who provided regular reviews from holiday destinations have included Sarah Kennedy, Bill Buckley, Kieran Prendiville, Fyfe Robertson, Kathy Tayler, Monty Don, Rowland Rivron, John Cole and Carol Smillie. The final presenter was Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.[citation needed]

Theme tunes[edit]

The original theme tune for the series was Love's "The Castle".

Subsequent theme tunes in the mid-70s included Hugo Montenegro's arrangement of Lalo Schifrin's theme to the 1968 movie The Fox, a cover of the Beatles song Here Comes the Sun, and Part Five of Jean Michel Jarre's Équinoxe.

Gordon Giltrap's "Heartsong" was used as a theme tune from 1978 until the end of the 1985 series. In 1986 it was replaced with "The Holiday Suite" written by Simon May, who also composed the EastEnders theme. This proved unpopular, and was replaced the following year by a further Giltrap composition.

In 1988 Paul Hardcastle composed new music called "The Voyager". This theme was used throughout the 1990s and 2000s until the programme came to an end after 37 years in 2007.