Holiday (TV series)

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Genre Travel
Presented by Cliff Michelmore
Desmond Lynam
Anne Gregg
Anneka Rice
Jill Dando
Craig Doyle
Rizwana Lateef
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 622
Running time 29 minutes
Original network BBC One
Original release 2 January 1969 (1969-01-02)[1] – 19 March 2007 (2007-03-19)[2]

Holiday was a long-running UK television programme, which aired mainly on BBC One, sometimes airing on BBC Two. It was 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 its popularity led to ITV launching a rival show, Wish You Were Here...?.

Each week the programme consisted of several reports, in each of which one of the presenters visited a holiday resort in the UK or overseas and reviewed the attractions of the region. Despite the programme's obvious attraction as escapism, over the years it was criticised[by whom?] 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 a record 37 years on air, Holiday would end in March 2007 at the conclusion of the current series.


Many presenters came and went over the history of the programme, the most notable being Cliff Michelmore, Ginny Buckley, Peter Whelpton, Joan Bakewell, Anne Gregg, Frank Bough, John Carter, Desmond Lynam, Eamonn Holmes, Anneka Rice, Jill Dando, Rizwana Lateef and Craig Doyle.[4][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.

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, 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.


  1. ^ "Holiday 69 - BBC One London - 2 January 1969". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Holiday - BBC One London - 19 March 2007". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  3. ^ West, Dave (27 November 2006). "BBC axes 'Holiday' after 37 years". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "'Holiday' programme axed after 37 years". Daily Mail. 25 November 2006. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "'Holiday' programme axed after 37 years". Standard. 25 November 2006. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 

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