Summer Holiday (1963 film)

Summer Holiday is a British CinemaScope and Technicolor musical film featuring singer Cliff Richard.[1] The film was directed by Peter Yates (his debut), produced by Kenneth Harper. The original screenplay was written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass (who also wrote most of the song numbers and lyrics). The cast includes Lauri Peters, Melvyn Hayes, Teddy Green, Jeremy Bulloch, Una Stubbs, Pamela Hart, Jacqueline Daryl, Lionel Murton, Madge Ryan, David Kossoff, Nicholas Phipps, Ron Moody and The Shadows.[1] Herbert Ross choreographed the musical numbers.[2][3]

Summer Holiday
UK theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Yates
Produced byKenneth Harper
Written byPeter Myers
Ronald Cass
StarringCliff Richard
Lauri Peters
Music byStanley Black
Peter Myers
Ronald Cass
CinematographyJohn Wilcox
Edited byJack Slade
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
Release date
10 January 1963 (World Premiere, London)
  • 18 February 1963 (1963-02-18) (UK)
  • 12 March 1964 (1964-03-12) (US)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film had its World Premiere at the Warner Theatre in London's West End on 10 January 1963.[4]


The story concerns Don (Cliff Richard) and his friends (Hayes, Green and Bulloch) who are bus mechanics at the huge London Transport bus overhaul works in Aldenham, Hertfordshire. During a miserably wet British summer lunch break, Don arrives, having persuaded London Transport to lend him and his friends an AEC Regent III RT double-decker bus (and not a later AEC Routemaster as often quoted). This they convert into a holiday caravan, which they drive across continental Europe, intending to reach the South of France. However, their eventual destination is Athens, Greece. On the way, they are joined by a trio of young women (Stubbs, Hart and Daryl) and a runaway singer (Lauri Peters), who initially pretends to be male, pursued by her mother (Ryan) and agent (Murton). The movie was a box-office hit, thus repeating the success of Cliff Richard's earlier film The Young Ones (1961).



In April 1962 Associated British Picture Corporation of Elstree bought three used RTs (RT2305 (KGU334), RT2366 (KGU395), and RT4326 (NLE990)) from London Transport. They were all converted to look like RT1881 (with a fake registration number: WLB991) so they could be used for filming different segments.[5]

The opening ten-minutes was filmed at the Aldenham Works, Elstree where Cliff's character and friends are mechanics at the main bus servicing depot for London Transport. While on lunch one rainy day, they come up with the idea of converting an old RT bus into a mobile home. They enlist the help of their workmates in a musical segment that uses the track Seven Days to a Holiday. The scenes were shot at the works in 1962 during its annual summer shutdown.[6] Filming included large parts of the works as well as numerous actual employees as extras.[7]

The film was shot in Greece.[8]


There are 16 song and musical numbers in the film: "Seven Days to a Holiday", "Let Us Take You for a Ride", "Stranger in Town", "Swinging Affair", "Really Waltzing", "Yugoslavian Wedding", "All At Once", "Summer Holiday", "Bachelor Boy", "Dancing Shoes", "Foot Tapper", "Big News", "The Next Time", "Les Girls", "Round and Round" and "Orlando's Mime".

The film's producers felt that female lead in the film, Lauri Peters, was not a strong enough singer after several test recording sessions and all of her parts, both in the film and on the soundtrack album were dubbed by session vocalist Grazina Frame. Frame had overdubbed female singing voices in Cliff Richard's earlier film The Young Ones.[9]

Cliff Richard, Melvyn Hayes and the Shadows were recalled to Elstree some weeks after completion of shooting to record Bachelor Boy. This was because the distributors felt the film was too short.


Box office

The film was the second most popular movie at the British box office in 1963, after From Russia with Love (Tom Jones and The Great Escape came next.) It helped Cliff Richard be voted by exhibitors as the most popular star at the British box office in the same year.[10][11] However it flopped in the US, where it was released two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Cultural impact

The majority of the numbers integrated dance with song – not merely serving as scenes to promote a number of "hit-parade" songs. Ross, an American choreographer later became a film director in his own right.

Many singles lifted from the film including, title track "Summer Holiday", as well as "The Next Time", "Bachelor Boy" and "Foot Tapper" all reached Number one in the British charts during the first three months of 1963.

The film suggested to the photographer Daniel Meadows a way in which he might emulate Benjamin Stone and travel around and photograph Britain from 1973 to 1974.[12] It was voted the 99th greatest family film in a Channel 4 poll.

Stage adaptations

Summer Holiday was adapted into a stage musical in the mid-1990s starring Darren Day in the role that Cliff Richard played. It premiered for a summer season at The Opera House in Blackpool in 1996, and then later toured nationally, before returning to Blackpool in 1998. The cast for these included Claire Buckfield, Isla Fisher, Faith Brown, Ross King, Peter Baldwin and René Zagger. It was also recorded and released on video, entitled "Summer Holiday-The Hits", which was all the musical numbers strung together by clips of Darren Day writing postcards to his friends, and describing what was happening in the story as he wrote.

The stage musical differs in a number of respects from the film version. For example, the route to Athens is via Italy in the stage version rather than the original film route via Yugoslavia. The songs also differ, and include a number of songs from Cliff Richard's other early back catalogue, such as "The Young Ones".

The stage musical was revived in 2003, starring Stefan Booth but later starring Darren Day again. This production also included Day's future partner Suzanne Shaw (from the pop group Hear'say) as Bobby and, as Shaw's mother, Aimi MacDonald. The production toured the UK.


  3. SUMMER HOLIDAY Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 30, Iss. 348, (Jan 1, 1963): 19.
  4. The Times,10 January 1963, page 2
  5. "Buses on Screen - Summer Holiday (1963, Cliff Richard)". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. "Research Guide No 33: Aldenham Bus Works" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  7. Seven Days To A Holiday on YouTube
  8. Webber, Richard (19 July 2013). "Melvyn Hayes on filming Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard". The Telegraph.
  9. Grazina Frame at IMDB
  10. "Most Popular Films Of 1963." Times [London, England] 3 Jan. 1964: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  11. 'Cleo' Returns Put at $15.7 Million: Other Champ Grossers Told; Cliff Richard British Favorite Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 31 Jan 1964: C9.
  12. Phil Coomes, "Daniel Meadows on digital literacy", BBC News in Pictures, 15 November 2011.
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