Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1950s Holiday Town Parade

Holiday Town Parade

1 9 5 6 – 1 9 6 2 (UK)

Holiday Town Parade debuted in 1956 (ABC’s first year of broadcasting) and was a regular summer fixture on Saturday nights on ITV, attracting a viewing audience of up to 20 million.

Billed as “the contest for Great Britain’s Television Bathing Beauty Queen, Fashion Queen and Adonis”, the show toured the seaside resorts of Britain including Morecambe, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Rhyl, Southport, New Brighton, Bridlington, Skegness, Scarborough, Filey, Great Yarmouth, Fleetwood, Douglas (Isle of Man) and Blackpool.

The show was hosted from the start by McDonald Hobley, who was assisted in 1956 by Avril Angers and Billy Ternent. Derek Roy and singer Carmita joined the team in 1959. Keith Fordyce (from Thank Your Lucky Stars) took over as compere for the final run in 1962.

Thousands of hopeful entrants were auditioned each year to find 216 contestants to compete for the Bathing Beauty Queen title through eliminating heats in the holiday towns until 24 ladies appeared in the final. A similar process took place for the Fashion Queen title.

Prizes for the winners included cars, scooters, a fashion wardrobe, and trips to Bermuda (with spending money).

The theme tune, Holiday Town Parade March, was composed by Danny Miller and Bill Oliver.

Holiday Town Parade contestants. 1961.

Bathing Beauty Queen winners

1956:  Marion Lewis
1957:  Christina Gregg
1958:  Sue Burgess
1959:  Barbara Smith
1960:  Marny Birchall
1961:  Sue Burgess