TV Cream

TV: W is for...

Wish You Were Here…?

Has she got views for youNOT REALLY. Basically a rip-off of [cref 2716 HOLIDAY] only with less about insurance rates and more tits’n’tinsel. Main gimmick from the off was having the presenter helm proceedings from a glittering foreign vista as opposed to hunkering down in a shabby studio, which sounded inspired but in reality meant JUDITH CHALMERS sashaying awkwardly along a dirty shoreline in Costa Plonka while ugly kids ran into shot and locals shouted obscenities. Benefited from the 1970s package holiday boom in that if all else failed there was always another resort to visit and bunch of red-faced ill-at-ease Brits to interview. CHRIS KELLY supplied early roving reports from Lake Windermere or, when there was enough in the kitty, Boulogne (“Incredibly, the hovercraft now takes just 45 minutes!”). Became a 7pm weeknight fixture. Chalmers-baiting orange-related gags entered the routines of the laziest comics in the land. Somehow soldiered on through the decades and never officially got axed, though it’s not been seen on screen for a fair while, and at some point Judith was jilted to make way for MARY NIGHTINGALE. Charming chirpy theme tune, a flute-furnished elevator music mini-masterpiece, bedecked the show during its imperial 1980s era.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    August 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    While the BBC’s Holiday was promoting holidays aimed at the upper middle class such as two weeks in Mauritius for a sum few viewers could afford, the people’s channel, of course, majored on Blackpool and Benidorm. Never were the class differences between the middle class BBC and working class ITV shown up so much as in their holiday programmes. Mercifully Wish You Were Here didn’t have Frank Bough and his tedious travelogue from France with his wife Nesta.

  2. Arthur Nibble

    August 3, 2009 at 12:13 am

    …but yesterday on ITV we had “Wish You Were Here: Then And Now”, when they compared the Majorca of Judith’s inaugural 1974 edition with the island now, as (tour)guided by her son, Neil Durden-Smith.

  3. TV Cream

    August 3, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Er, you’ve rather disproved your own point there, Glenn, by bringing up Frank Bough’s caravanning odyssey as an example of highfalutin’ BBC holiday ideas. Lest we forget, there was also the lot of Cliff Michelmore, who packed his trilby and headed out to local resorts while his junior colleagues soaked up the sun on assorted palm beaches, before merrily returning to the studio and informing all of the splendid time he’d had, proudly reading off the minuscule amounts on his superimposed travel bill and singing the praises of the Great British Holiday in general.

    In later years the disparity between the two programmes’ aspirations, if there was one, must have been in the opposite direction. You’d see Anne Gregg hiking through the Dales in those shorts that so infuriated Points of View correspondents, while La Chalmers would turn up at the biggest hotel in the Maldives with a jaded look on her face to bellow out room rates by the pool. If any holiday programme encouraged the idea of swanning about plush hotels in a lurid kaftan like it was your birthright, it was late-period Wish You Were Here.

  4. Matthew Rudd

    August 3, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I liked WYWH when it turned up at the Duty Free hotel and failed to notice it was a Leeds TV studio.

  5. fl3m

    August 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    People still to this day say things like “You going away again? You have more holidays than Judith Chalmers” so WYWH must have been fairly iconic.

    It used to fill the Krypton Factor’s slot didn’t it? Monday 7.00pm? Reminds me of lying down on the carpet in my school uniform.

  6. Richard16378

    August 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

    JC did a nifty self-parody in Rex The Runt voicing Judith Poodle.

  7. Lee James Turnock

    April 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    The theme music was ‘Carnival’ by Gordon Giltrap, the same guitar ace whose ‘Heartsong’ provided the BBC’s ‘Holiday’ series with its signature for years.

  8. Paul

    May 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Just anyone know the name of the second theme tune, used in the 1990s and 2000s?

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